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By the Same Author 









From a drawing fry T. S. Boys 




: /, 




" Behold that street the Omphalos of Town ! 
Where the grim palace wears the prison's frown. 
What tales what morals of the elder day 
If stones had language could that street convey.' 
The New Timon, 









THIS attempt to trace the history of one of London's 
most notable thoroughfares has been undertaken because 
nobody has done it before. White's and Brooks 's have 
both had their historians ; the ana concerning the social 
and political aspect of St James's Street are endless ; 
but, curiously enough, a volume concerned solely with the 
annals of the street topographical and historical, social 
and political has not hitherto been attempted. Simi- 
larly nothing of a complete character has before been 
published about Almack's, an institution which occupied 
a dominating position in fashionable London life during 
more than half-a-century of that life's gayest and most 
festive career. Under these circumstances an apology for 
swelling, by yet another book, the already vast library of 
Londoniana seems hardly necessary. 

I have refrained from touching, except indirectly, on 
St James's Palace, because that historic pile has already 
been fully dealt with by the late Canon Edgar Sheppard. 

As on former occasions I have been generously assisted 
by many in whose power it was to give me special help ; 
and I take this occasion of here tendering a general 
expression of gratitude gratitude that is particularly 
due to Mr Harvey, the well-known book and print seller 
of St James's Street, for information concerning his in- 
teresting property in Pickering Place ; as well as to the 
custodians of the Rate Books at the St Martin's Town Hall, 
whose courtesy has not by any means been shown me for 
the first time. 

E. B. C. 







V. THE CLUBS ..... 121 

VI. THE CLUBS continued . . . 138 








vi. ALMACK'S IN FICTION .... 267 

INDEX . ... 281 


ST JAMES'S PALACE . . . Frontispiece 

By T. S. Boys 




ST JAMES'S STREET . . . .40 

NO. 4 ST JAMES'S STREET . . . .42 



OLD WHITE'S CLUB ..... 122 

From Hogarth's " Rake's Progress" 


WHITE'S ..... 126 


After a Caricature by Gillray 








ALTHOUGH the portion of the West End of London com- 
prised in the area around St James's Palace may properly 
be said to owe its fashionable existence to Henry Jermyn, 
Earl of St Albans, who created St James's Square on 
ground granted him by Charles II. in 1664, the presence 
of the Palace, converted by Henry VIII. from the Leper 
Hospital originally standing here, in or about 1528, must 
have given this district a cachet even at this early period, 
and obviously marked it out for that building develop- 
ment which invariably takes place around any royal 

It is unfortunate that Agas's great plan of London, 
circa 1560, does not extend sufficiently westward to in- 
clude this then outlying portion of the Metropolis. 
Especially is this regrettable because Agas is the first 
cartographer who attempted to deal carefully with his 
subject and marked; with no little precision, the roads and 
streets of the London that then existed. Wyngaerde, 
who produced his famous " view " some ten years earlier, 
has left us a most interesting general picture of the city, 
but his production was inevitably rough and ready, 
particularly when it dealt with outlying areas, so that 
although he shows us St James's Church and marks the 
"King's Palace," by a note, on his picture (there is no 
indication, architecturally, of the building), he shows us 



nothing else but open country. The perspective (not very 
well understood then) of his view is responsible for this 
to a large extent, and we might be inclined to think that 
in those days no precursor to the St James's Street, which 
here specially interests us, was in existence, if we relied 
too much on what Wyngaerde has set down. 

There is little doubt, however, that at least a roadway 
of some sort ran up from the Palace gate to the important 
way to Readinge, as Piccadilly was then called, during 
Tudor days, and that such a roadway, with hedges on 
both sides and having all the characteristics of a country 
lane, was the first step towards the St James's Street of 
fashionable, political and convivial associations, which it 
became in the eighteenth century and which it so largely 
remains to-day. 

At first all the area through which the thoroughfare 
runs was known as St James's Fields, which roughly 
extended from the Haymarket westward. Here, where 
is now St James's Square, stood a conduit built of bricks, 
and adjoining it a round house of stone. Bacon mentions 
these in his Historia Naturalis, and evidently was person- 
ally acquainted with the two structures, for he remarks 
that " in the brick conduit there is a window, and in the 
round house a slit or rift of some breadth, " and he tells how 
" if you cry out in the rift it will make a fearful roaring at 
the window. ' ' x That building development must have been 
begun with some activity even under the Commonwealth 
is proved by the fact that Cromwell, on llth August 1656, 
issued a proclamation for " a stay of all further buildings 
in the fields commonly called St James's Fields. " 

It is not easy to say exactly whereabouts this building 
took place, but from the usual course we may presume it 
to have begun on the east side of the area in question and 

1 A good view of the conduit is shown in Hollar's view of St 
James's Palace. 



to have progressed westwards. The Rate Books for this 
early period are at best uncertain guides. The different 
methods pursued by various rate-collectors, the extremely 
puzzling way in which they made their rounds, the 
absence of exact particularisation as to the streets, etc., 
visited, all help to render these records hazy. A careful 
examination of them from the year 1599 (before which 
the name of St James's does not appear) leads one to 
suppose, however, that in that year two people were 
living along the road which is now St James's Street, their 
names being Mrs Anne Poulteney and Mr Baldwin. Why 
I am inclined to think that these two precursors resided in 
this particular quarter of the parish is because the name 
of Poulteney (later written Pulteney) is traceable, with 
different Christian names, in St James's Street down to a 
period long after this name is given to the roadway in the 
Rate Books, and there seems to be, for at least over a 
hundred years, no break in this kind of apostolic succes- 
sion, the simple Poulteney, which I take to be the Mrs 
Anne of 1599, continuing till it gives place to Michael 
Poulteney in 1638, 1 which in turn is changed to William 
Poulteney in 1654, the latter becoming Sir William in 
1660 onwards. We may thus, I think, regard the name 
of Pulteney as being the one earliest and longest associ- 
ated with "our street." Baldwin, who started equal in 
the race, does not appear to have survived beyond 1629, 
after which year we know him no more ; but as, in 1603, 
he is found paying twenty shillings in rates, he must be 
considered as a person of some importance in his day. 

Whereabouts these forerunners lived can be purely but 
a matter of conjecture. In 1660 Sir William Pulteney 2 

1 In 1622 it is incorrectly given as Mounteney. 

1 He married the youngest daughter of Sir John Corbett, and 
was grandfather to William, Earl of Bath. Corbett, as we shall 
see, was a resident in St James's Street. 



is given as residing then on the west side of St James's 
Street. If, therefore, he occupied ancestral property, we 
may suppose such property to have been situated in this 
position and to have been that in which Mrs Anne 
Poulteney was living in 1599. 

For some years Mrs Poulteney and Mr Baldwin appear 
to have had no neighbours, but in 1609 one Walker is 
added to them. Ten years later a Mr Henn and a Mr 
Hunt join them, both of whom are found continuing for a 
number of years. In 1621 it is interesting to find the 
name of Waller for the first time, although this could 
hardly have been the poet (he was only born in 1605), who, 
however, did subsequently live in St James's Street, as 
we shall see. In 1627 we have a John Gladston given as 
residing in this quarter, and an interesting name for the 
following year is that of Mr Richard Middleton, with 
whom we find, for the first time, the Earl of Berkshire. 
In 1629 "Sir Archibald Dowglass Kt." appears, and in 
1632, Lord Aston. A certain Crofts, whose presence has 
been for some time indicated, blossoms into Sir W. Crofts 
in 1634. 

The Rate Books prove pretty conclusively not only 
the growing population of St James's Street but also the 
fashionable character it was assuming. Sir Ralph Clare, 
in 1635, is joined in the following year by Sir John Bingley, 
who, as Lord Andover, is found in succeeding entries. 
The number of residents about this time seems to have 
been from fifteen to seventeen. In 1641 we find, besides 
Lord Berkshire and Sir R. Clare, Pulteney and Henn, 
Sir David Cunningham, the Earl of Danby and Lord 
Gorringe. Three j^ears later (1644), owing, no doubt, to 
the outbreak of the Civil War, the number of inhabitants 
has dwindled to eight : Henn (become Sir Henry Henn), 
Sir John Corbett and Sir Thomas Peyton among them. 
To these, in 1645, is added the Earl of Lincoln ; and, in 



1646, Lady Lumley, Lord Reynolds, Lord Howard, and a 
certain Captain Scares who pays six shillings for a garden. 
The only new name of note in 1647 is that of Lord 
Skydimore, and Captain Scares is found entered as 
" Capt. Scares for old Perkins his garden house," probably 
a tenement on the as yet only sparsely built-over west side 
of the road. 

In 1648 the new names are those of Lady Lumley and 
the Countess of Carlisle, who are joined in the following 
year by Lord " Raynalow " (sic), that nobleman paying one 
pound in rates and becoming later Lord "Rany lough." 1 
A little later, about the year 1652, we are first, I think, 
able to distinguish to some extent on which side of the 
roadway the people mentioned in the Rate Books resided. 
The supposition is only relative, and I give it with all 
reservation. Thus for the year mentioned I incline to 
place Michael Poulteney, Sir John Corbett, Lord Rayna- 
laugh and Mr John Hooke, with the Earl of Berkshire, at 
the bottom of the roadway, on the west side, and Mr 
Champion Lane, Mr Kynollis, Li cut. -Col. Mason and Lady 
Pickering on the east. There is the added probability, by 
this arrangement, that Pickering Place takes its name 
from the fact of its running into what was once the 
property or temporary residence of the last-named tenant 
or owner. In 1654 a new name appears one Mr Richard- 
son but he could hardly have been an acquisition, at 
least not in a monetary way, to the authorities, as against 
him is significantly written: "Will not pay." As he subse- 
quently disappears, he apparently could not be made to, 
and was turned out. In the following year the name of 
Waller again appears, this time indicating the poet, who 
is given as "Waller Esq. " in 1658, and as "Edmund 

1 Lord Ranelagh was living at No. 7 St James's Square from 1678 
to 1693, and is found at No. 13 in 1694 ; see Dasent's St James's 

B 17 


Waller Esq. " x in 1659, being then domiciled " In the 
Pavement," which I imagine was that part of the east 
side which had by now been formed into something more 
analogous to the modern street than the rough and ready 
earlier road could be said to be. 

As a matter of fact, although St James's Street is stated 
by various topographers to have been formed in 1670, it 
dates from at least ten years earlier. The Rate Books for 
1658 give the names of inhabitants under the general 
heading of " St James's." In the following year no name 
of district or street (so far as these particular names are 
concerned) is entered, but in 1660 we find the heading 
" St James's Street." From this the deduction is fairly 
obvious that the roadway was made into a regular street 
in or about 1659, or just eleven years earlier than has 
hitherto been assumed. The fact that by a Statute of 
13 & 14 Charles II. (1661-1662) St James's Street was 
ordered to be paved, not only proves that the street had 
already been formed, but also indicates that it was then 
regarded as a potentially important thoroughfare. In 
this connection it is interesting to remember that John 
Evelyn was one of the Commissioners for the improvement 
of the streets, and under date of 31st July 1662 thus refers 
to the matter : "I sate with ye Commiss about re- 
forming buildings and streetes of London, and we ordered 
the paving of the way from St James's North, which was 
a quagmire, and also of the Hymarket about Pigadillo 
[Piccadilly], and agreed upon instructions to be printed 
and published for the better keeping the streetes 

I may mention here that Hare 2 and others have stated 
that at first St James's Street was known as " The Long 
Street." I have been at some pains to verify this 

1 He is then rated at sixteen shillings. 
a Walks in London. 



statement, but confess to have been baffled. I can 
find no indication in the Rate Books or elsewhere 
of the fact. Nor does there seem any adequate 
reason why this particular thoroughfare should have 
been popularly so called. It is not specially lengthy; 
even compared with other then existing streets, it 
hardly merited this distinctive title. If an adjective 
was required to designate a new thoroughfare, in this 
case " steep " would have been far more natural and 

We may thus date the formation of St James's Street 
from the year 1659 and allow its proper and present 
name to have been given it at its inception. Officially 
this was evidently so, although I am not prepared to 
deny that some individuals may have called it The 
Long Street, or that such a title may appear in some 
contemporary document with which I am unacquainted. 

Assuming, then, the formation of St James's Street in 
1659, we have the interesting fact that the notable year of 
Restoration, 1660, marks the first year of the new street's 
existence. By the Rate Books we find, too, Edmund 
Waller, who is so identified, practically, with the return 
of sovereignty in England, given on an increased scale of 
rating : one pound instead of sixteen shillings. We are 
also first able to identify Sir William Pulteney's house, 
which stood just before Stable Yard, going up the street, 
or, roughly, about ten houses from Cleveland Row on the 
west side. Some new names also appear : Lord Hughson 
(who is first entered in 1658) Thomas Eliott, Madame 
Tagg, Madame London, and Madame Palmer (whom one 
would like to identify with Barbara Villiers, who married 
Roger Palmer in 1658, joined the Court of Charles II. in 
Holland in the following year, and returned in his train at 
the Restoration, and not improbably took up her residence 
in St James's Street in order to be near her royal admirer's 


palace), and Major Gibbons, who was, doubtless, the pro- 
prietor of the famous " Gibbons 's Tennis Court," in Vere 
Street, Clare Market. 

In the year 1663 I find but nine names given in the 
Rate Books as representing the residents in St James's 
Street ; in 1671 there are no fewer than twenty-eight. 
Among the latter we find on the east side those of Col. 
Thomas Howard, Mr Clutterbrooke, Sir Peter Collaton 
and Lady Bassett ; on the west, Sir John Buncombe and 
Sir Allan Apsley (both well-known men and subsequently 
residents in St James's Square), and Lady Danvers. By 
another dozen years a still further increase is found, to 
the extent of thirty-nine names. Among them are Lady 
Pike, Sir John Fenwick and Lady Burlard (all entered 
at two pounds), and Lady Scrope, who pays three 

The street was now well established and, as Strype 
is fond of phrasing it, "well inhabited." Its subsidiary 
outlets, too, had mostly come into existence : King Street 
was formed in 1673, although it was not till the nineteenth 
century that what was at first but a passage-way into 
St James's Street was enlarged into a regular roadway ; 
Jermyn Street dates from 1667 ; Ryder Street from 1674 ; 
Park Place was just being formed (1683), and Bennet 
Street and St James's Place were to come, respectively 
in 1689 and 1694. On the other hand there were many 
small courts and alleys, which have now disappeared, on 
both sides of the way, and these we shall come to in our 
perambulation in a later chapter. Suffice it to say here 
that on the east side, from north to south, were Villiers 
Court, Crown and Sceptre Court, Fox Court, Gloucester 
Court and Pickering Place, besides other unnamed open- 
ings which gradually came into existence ; and on the 
west side, Stable Yard, far more fashionably inhabited 
than its name would suggest, and running out of the main 



street between Park Place and St James's Place; and 
Little St James's Street and Thatched House Court, south 
of the latter turning. 

I need not, now, follow the Rate Books further, as I 
shall refer to them when speaking of the interesting in- 
habitants of St James's Street and its tributary outlets ; 
but it is curious, in going through these old records, to 
note the uncertain way in which names are set down, 
and the exceedingly unbusinesslike manner in which the 
collectors seem to have gone about their rounds. Some 
are found doing this with a certain amount of method, 
but, as a rule, system is not their strong point. Some of 
them have taken the trouble to state on which side of the 
way the people lived ; but this is not often the case until 
we come to later and more systematised entries. So far 
as I can gather, the usual rule was to begin at the south- 
west corner of the street and progress up it to the north 
corner of Park Place, then to cross over to the south 
corner of Ryder Street and continue down on the east side. 
As for many years the west side was unbuilt over beyond 
Park Place, there is reason for their leaving this large 
corner unnoticed ; but I cannot understand their ignoring 
the opposite north-east side, unless it be that it was taken, 
in a haphazard kind of way, together with the portion of 
Piccadilly on which it abutted. 

As to the sketchy way in which names are spelt, that 
is less to be wondered at when one considers that the 
collectors were hardly likely to be better spellers than the 
educated people of the period. It thus happens that we 
get Lord Brunkhard for Lord Brouncker ; Lady Burly 
Lace for Lady Borlase; and Edward, as often as Ed- 
mund, Waller ; Sir Peter Collaton is sometimes Sir Peter 
Collington and sometimes Sir Peter Colleton ; while it 
was a good many years before the Pulteney family got its 
surname correctly given. 



In the year 1685 we find Edward Waller rated at twelve 
pounds, his house being evidently on the east side of the 
street. In those days Stable Yard, opposite, was a cul-de- 
sac of not very important houses, judging from the fact 
that the rates on them ranged from ten shillings down 
to two shillings. By the beginning of the eighteenth 
century, however, much rebuilding had taken place here, 
with the result that the residences in this court became 
fine houses and were occupied by fashionable people, as 
we may see by Kip's plan of 1710-1720, and by the 
names of the inhabitants in the Rate Books. Even 
earlier than this, notwithstanding the small rateable value 
placed on them, the houses in Park Place and the other 
turnings out of St James's Street seem to have shared 
the ever-increasing popularity of the main thorough- 
fare as a desirable place of abode. This we shall see 
more particularly when we come to deal with these 
tributary streets. In St James's Street itself, on the west 
side, we find the Earl of Castlehaven's name for the 
first time in 1686, in addition to many of those previously 
mentioned. In the following year Waller's Christian 
name, Edmund, is given correctly ; but in 1688 it dis- 
appears, the poet having died (at Beaconsfield) on 21st 
October of the previous year. In 1695 Sir Csesar Oran- 
more, Sir John Fenwick, Sir James How and Lady 
Bellasis are given as residents. 

Among other clues to past residents we have Philip 
Musgrave, in 1688 ; Lord Townshend, in 1748 ; Sir Robert 
Wilmot, in 1754 onwards ; W. Gerard Hamilton, in 1763 ; 
and Governor Thomas Hutchinson, in 1775, either writing 
from, or being addressed at, their lodgings or own houses 
in St James's Street. 

As we know, besides private houses there were several 
famous chocolate- and coffee-houses in St James's Street 
about this period, and these, no doubt, did no little In 



turning the attention of commercial enterprise to the 

So early as 1686 we find Messrs Nickson and Welch, on 
the east side ; and Richard Russell, at The Cock, reminds 
us that taverns were not absent. 1 Here and there are 
names, too, which suggest the lodging-house keeper, cheek 
by jowl with names that are historic or at least were 
famous in their day. 

Some ten years later we find the Terrace first men- 
tioned in the Rate Books for 1697, appearing in this 

entry: "Lord Arundell Terrace." It is somewhat 

difficult to identify the exact position of this terrace. 
From certain internal evidence in the Rate Books I am 
inclined to think it was on the east side, and, as we shall 
see from Strype, it was at the upper end of the street ; 
and that it was a raised pavement before certain houses, 
for convenience of entering the then highly slung coaches 
and also to avoid the splashing incident to the almost 
perpetual badness of even the most fashionable streets 
at that period. 

The gradual development of St James's Street is shown 
by the appearance, in the Rate Book records, of new 
courts without any further distinguishing title than "A 
Court," "New Passage," etc. A Mr Stroud lived, in 1695, 
on the west side ; so we have the alley abutting on his 
house, given as Stroud 's Court a name that has not sur- 
vived. Russell's Court is another that has disappeared 
(it was formerly on the west side, running into Cleveland 
Row), as have Villiers Court, between Piccadilly and 
Jermyn Street ; Crown and Sceptre Court and Fox Court, 
between the latter thoroughfare and Ryder Street (the 

J The King Head, for instance, was next door (south) to the 
present White's Clubhouse ; and at " The Bunch of Grapes," on 
the west side, " extraordinary good cask Florence wine at 6s. a 
gallon" was sold in 1711, according to an advertisement of that 



west end of which was then called Little Rider Street), 
and Gloucester Court, between King Street and Pickering 
Court. In fact, the last named is one of the few of these 
little outlets that have survived successive building de- 
velopments, and as such is of particular interest, as it 
is (we shall see later) for other reasons. 

Some of these courts no doubt took their names from 
adjacent signs belonging to taverns or business premises, 
such as Crown and Sceptre Court, Blue Ball Yard, Fox 
Court, Catherine Wheel Yard. In 1685 King Street is 
still designated " in the Fields," a reminiscence of the St 
James's Fields which died hard in a neighbourhood which 
was then recently more or less rural. 

As to what were the taverns in St James's Street at the 
close of the seventeenth century it is difficult to say. We 
know with certainty of the Poet's Head, the poet probably 
being Dryden ; also of the Horse-Shoe Ale House, because 
in the Vernon MS. a certain Simon Weld, evidently a spy, 
reports hearing one Cox, a plumber, speaking favourably 
of James II. here in 1694. Weld, in the course of his 
"business," frequented such resorts, but his incidental 
mention of The Goal, and The Dolphin and Crown, " a 
cook shop," do not interest us, as these places were merely 
near St James's Street. A "Fox" is also traceable, 
apart from Fox Court already referred to, as Captain 
Scott, in his Dixonary of Persons in France (1695-1696, 
Jan. 18), mentions that a Mrs Middlegast l in St James's 
Street, "next doof to the Fox," befriended him on one 
occasion. Whether The Dog and Duck, at which sign a 
Mr Clement lodged with one Chasie, and there received 
a letter from Rouen, dated 18th October 1722, 2 was a 
tavern or not is uncertain. There was a well-known inn 
with this sign in Hertford Street, Mayfair, and a notorious 

1 Evidently a lodger, as I cannot trace her in the Rate-Books. 
8 Historical Manuscripts Commission. 



one in St George's Fields, so their name may possibly 
have been attached to a tavern in St James's Street. 

In addition to the Rate Books, some further information 
of a more or less general kind concerning the earlier 
history of St James's Street can be gleaned from the 
Calendar of State Papers and the Historical Manuscripts 
Commission. In the earlier entries in the former of these 
authorities we shall find nothing more particular to our 
purpose than what is entered under the heading of St 
James's Fields, so that when, for instance, John Sharpe 
is mentioned as owning a house in St James's Fields in 
1630, or when, five years later, Archibald Lumsden is 
granted the sole right to sell "Malls," balls and scoops 
" and other necessaries for the game of Pall Mall," within 
his grounds in St James's Fields, we can only assume such 
and similar entries to refer generally to the area on which 
St James's Square and its adjacent thoroughfare stand, 
and only possibly to that western portion which is now 
St James's Street. But even if it cannot be proved that 
such references are actually connected with the embryo 
thoroughfare, at the same time they deal with its imme- 
diate neighbourhood, and one or two of them, for this 
reason, as well as for their intrinsic interest, deserve record 

Thus, on llth July 1603 we find an order for deferring 
St James's Fair, then held in the open space near St 
James's Palace, and afterwards in St James's Market, on 
account of the Plague ; and, again, on 12th June 1636, 
being put off, it then being "held on St James's Day, 
near his Majesty's house at St James's." 

In 1665 we know that this fair, which was carried on 
" in the road near the House of St James's," but whether 
in Pall Mall or St James's Street is a question (I rather 
incline to the former), was ordered to be transferred to 
St James's Market. It had become a nuisance to the 



royal residence, and thus may have extended to the 
junction of Pall Mall and St James's Street. 

In Strype's time it had blossomed into the Mayfair of 
many stories, having been transferred, according to that 
authority, to " the road leading to Tyburn." 

So much for the fair, which only indirectly interests us 
here. Return we to the Calendar of State Papers, where, 
under date of 26th October 1638, I find a communication 
from Inigo Jones to the Council, in which the great archi- 
tect reports that, " according to your order of the 19th 
inst. concerning the divisions made in several parts of 
St James's Fields, and a bridge of bricks begun for the 
passage of carts into the said field, I have spoken with 
Archibald Lumsdale [Lumsden, mentioned before], the 
tenant, and showed him your order for demolishing the 
bridge, &c., all of which he has undertaken shall be done 
by Thursday next." 

An entry more directly bearing on our subject is the 
following: "Aug. 14th, 1656. Order for staying of 
building in Lincoln's Inn Fields and St James's Fields. 
Gabriel Beck to see to this," as it is probable that part of 
that building was the development of St James's Street 
itself, which, as we have seen, first appears as a regular 
street about three years later. 

The forming of the street naturally required that the 
water supply should be put on a proper footing, and on 
16th May 1664 we accordingly have the "Petition of 
Fras : Williamson and Ralph Wayne to the King, for 
leave to convey to the inhabitants of Piccadilly, St 
James's Fields, Hay market and the neighbourhood, 
water from springs which they have found near, they 
compounding with the inhabitants at reasonable rates, on 
account of the great expense they have been at in the new 
invention of an engine which by perpetual motion will 
drain level or mines, though 50 fathoms deep, for which 



they have already a licence." They duly received the 
required powers, as is shown by an entry of 25th June of 
the same year. On the previous 81st May another entry 
referring to the same subject is interesting as introducing 
the name of one of the earliest inhabitants in St James's 
Street : " Certificate to Sir W. Pulteney, that Mr William- 
son and Mr Wayne have agreed with him for the use of the 
springs near Piccadilly which he holds for the Earl of St 
Albans ; that the work will be very useful, and that there 
will be no occasion to come on any man's land excepting 
the Earl's, who consents thereto." 

In July 1672 we have the first mention by name of St 
James's Street in the Calendar of State Papers. It runs 
thus : " Grant to Sir John Buncombe, in fee simple, of 
four messuages with their gardens in St James's Street, 
county of Middlesex, in reversion after the determination 
of the existing leases thereof." Two years later a warrant 
of 18th August, after reciting gifts of King's land in St 
James's to Lord St Albans, proceeds : " The said warrant 
also directs a grant to be made to my lord and Col. Villiers 
of the inheritance of 19 small tenements in St James's 
Street looking into St James's Park." The Colonel 
Villiers here mentioned is the gentleman after whom 
Villiers Court was named. When the warrant speaks of 
the nineteen tenements ** looking Into St James's Park," 
it is clear that these houses were on the west side of the 
street and abutted on what is now the Green Park, but 
which, in those days, was part and parcel of St James's 
Park. It is sometimes found referred to as the Upper 
Park, St James's, and also as Upper St James's Park. 

Two other entries of a later period, in the State Papers, 
are also of interest : one, dated 27th January 1690, reveals 
the existence of a pillory in St James's Street, in connec- 
tion with one Peter Roman having been sentenced to 
stand there, but whose punishment, for some reason or 



other, was subsequently remitted. It is not quite clear 
where this pillory stood ; when it was set up ; or when 
removed. It may possibly have been but a temporary 
erection and was in all probability fixed at the bottom of 
St James's Street. At this period Jacobites were busy 
concocting schemes for the restoration of the exiled king, 
and as St James's is known to have been a hotbed of 
sedition then and later, when the Stuart cause was again 
to the front, the pillory may have been erected for such 
breakers of the law. An entry in the State Papers for 
15th August 1691 has, I think, some bearing on this 
matter. It runs thus : " Caveat that no pass be granted 
to Charles Caldecote, an infant about 15 years of age, 
till notice be given to Madame Cartwright at Mr Huddle- 
ston's house in St James's Street." Tristram Huddle- 
stone is given as living on the west' side, two doors from 
Stable Yard, in the Rate Books for 1685, and he had, later, 
as neighbour, Sir John Fenwick. 1 Both these names have 
such a Jacobite ring about them that they may fitly 
introduce certain references to such disloyal people who, 
in those days, resided in or frequented St James's Street. 
In the Buccleuch MSS. 2 we find allusions to the Nag's 
Head in St James's Street as being coupled curiously with 
the Prince of Orange's Head in Jermyn Street, as a resort 
of Jacobite plotters at the close of the seventeenth 
century ; and, later, letters from disaffected people can be 
traced to St James's Street and its neighbourhood. It is 
probable, therefore, that the pillory was kept fairly well 
supplied with tenants at a period when spies were ram- 
pant, and must have taken more than usual trouble to run 
to earth malcontents at the very gates of the royal palace. 
We know that on the death of Queen Anne, Atterbury 
offered to go down in front of St James's Palace, in full 

1 See later, for account of Fenwick. 

2 Historical Manuscripts Commission. 



Episcopal dress, and proclaim James III. as king, 1 and 
how, when the Tory ministry hesitated, the Bishop de- 
plored, in anything but Episcopal language, the loss of an 
opportunity which he regarded as in the highest degree 
favourable to the Pretender's cause. Atterbury knew his 
London well and, no doubt, was cognisant of the strong 
Tory feelings of the inhabitants of St James's Street and 
its vicinity. 

When George I. had been safely proclaimed and in- 
numerable arrests of disaffected people were taking place, 
one of the houses visited was Ozinda's Chocolate House 
at the bottom of the thoroughfare, near the Palace, and 
the inhabitants saw with no little alarm Mr Ozinda led 
away captive, followed by Captain Forde and Sir Richard 
Vivyan, two well-known habitues of the place. 

Having traced in a more or less general way the early 
development of St James's Street, by the aid of the plans, 
Rate Books, Calendar of State Papers and other sources, 
which can, however, only be regarded as, at best, indirect 
information, let us see what later London topographers 
and cartographers have to say about it. In the case of 
such authorities Stow always takes precedence. In the 
present instance, of course, this can hardly be, as Stow 
never knew St James's Street as such, although he may 
possibly have wandered along the then rural road which 
ran roughly over its present tracks. But Strype's edition 
of Stow, brought down to the eighteenth century, suffers 
under no such disabilities, and consequently we find not 
only mention of the thoroughfare but some extremely 
interesting and valuable references to it in the second of 
those two weighty volumes, which first appeared in 1720, 
and, in a more complete form, in 1754. 

" St James's Street," writes Strype, " beginneth at the 
Palace of St James's, and runs up to the Road against 
1 Doran's London in the Jacobite Times. 


Albemarle Buildings, being a spacious Street, with very 
good Houses well inhabited by Gentry : At the upper 
End of which towards the Road are the best, having be- 
fore them a Terrace Walk ascended by steps, with a Free- 
stone Pavement. Out of this Street, on the West Side, 
it hath a Passage into these Places, fronting the Pall Mall. 
A Passage to Cleveland Court, formerly one large House, 
and called Berkshire House, which being purchased by 
the Dutchesse of Cleveland, took her name ; now severed 
into several Houses, the chief of which is now inhabited 
by the Earl of Nottingham ; and here are two other small 
Courts against the Earl of Baths. Then in the said Street 
is a Yard for Stablings, with some Houses which run down 
to St James's Park Walls." 

From this passage we learn that St James's Street was, 
in its early days, practically wholly a residential thorough- 
fare ; we also observe that the Terrace, where we have 
seen from the Rate Books that Lord Arundel was living 
in 1697, was at the Piccadilly end of the street, and that 
steps led to it from the roadway. There were, as we know, 
several courts out of St James's Street on the east side ; 
but the one specifically mentioned by Strype as leading 
into places fronting the Pall Mall was probably Little King 
Street, the buildings on the south side of which abutted 
on the backs of the houses in Pall Mall, as they now do. 

The difficulty about tracing any particular West End 
street in early books on London is that, in the first place, 
the writers generally restrict their investigations to 
churches, public buildings and the general history of the 
city, and content themselves with but a bare mention of 
the streets ; and, secondly, that when they do enlarge on 
these we find only streets in the east or central part of 
London dealt with, the western area being then but 
recently built, and thus not being deemed, apparently, 
worthy of an antiquary's notice. The consequence is 



that the early history of St James's Street is, at best, 
vague and scrappy. Here and there we get glimpses, so 
to speak, of it, however ; and with these we must, perforce, 
be content. Thus, the Sieur de la Serre, a learned gentle- 
man who came over to this country in the suite of Marie 
de Medicis in 1638, in speaking of St James's Palace, 
remarks that " its great gate has a long street in front, 
reaching almost out of sight, seemingly joining to the 
fields." This passage is interesting, as it is the earliest 
reference we have to St James's Street as a roadway. 

In Norden's Notes on London and Westminster, dated 
1592, we get a vignette of the place under more rural con- 
ditions, for, describing St James's Palace, the topographer 
says : "It standeth from other buyldinges, about 2 fur- 
longe, saving a ferme house opposite agaynste the north 
gate," and, he adds, the prospect on the north is over 
" grene feeldes." The mention of the farm is particularly 
interesting, as it may possibly be identical with the build- 
ings which stood at the south-east corner of St James's 
Street and formed the nucleus of the building develop- 
ment in that thoroughfare. The open fields spoken of 
by Norden are indicated in Hollar's view of St James's 
Palace as it appeared so much later as 1660, although by 
that time some of its rural character must have departed 
at the advent of houses and the formation of the street 
proper, the Statute of 13 & 14 Charles II., dated 1661-1662, 
already referred to, proving that man was here already 
obliterating nature. 

The fine series of London maps which we possess helps 
us to some extent, although not so much as one could 
wish, in tracing the gradual development of St James's 
Street. We have already alluded to Wyngaerde's plan, 
which is, at best, in this connection, but an uncertain 
guide. In Faithorne's plan, dated 1658, however, we see, 
for the first time, St James's Street well defined. By 


this we observe Berkshire House at the south-west corner 
of the thoroughfare, with its gardens running a little more 
than half-way up the street, the remaining portion on the 
west side being part and parcel of the Park. On the east 
side, opposite Berkshire House, at the south-east corner, 
a range of buildings extends up the street for a distance 
equal to about a third of the length of Berkshire House 
and its gardens. The remainder of the ground on this 
side is shown as open fields (St James's Fields), bounded 
by Piccadilly on the north and the Haymarket on the 
east. At the south end of these fields a double row of 
trees runs parallel with Pall Mall, and above them are 
written the words " Pall Mall," which, I imagine, indicates 
that here the game was then played. Porter's smaller 
plan, dated 1660, is practically identical with Faithorne's, 
except (which does not, however, really concern us) that 
behind the double row of trees a wooden paling, running 
their entire length and passing through about the centre 
of St James's Square, is shown. 

By the time Morden and Lea issued their large and 
elaborate plan in 1682, the appearance of St James's Street 
had greatly altered. Taking first the west side, we find 
the grounds of Berkshire House entirely covered with 
houses, the remaining portion on the north, however, 
being still part of St James's Park (now the Green Park) 
before the formation of Bennet and Arlington Streets 
(1689) which were built on that part of this vacant land 
granted by Charles II. to Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, 
by deed, dated 6th February 1681. l 

On the east side of St James's Street we see, by Morden 
and Lea, that houses had by now been erected along its 

1 Lord Arlington sold this land, the same year, to a Mr Pym, 
who apparently formed the streets, and himself occupied, for many 
years, the largest house in Arlington Street. See Lives of the 
Norths, vol. iii., p. 210. 



entire length ; but although King Street and Jermyn Street 
are shown, there is no connection indicated between them 
and St James's Street. We know, however, that in both 
cases a narrow passage joined them, this passage being 
enlarged into the present continuation of the thorough- 
fare. In 1682 the west portion of Jermyn Street was 
called Little St Jermyn Street and the east Great St 
Jermyn Street. In nearly every case the houses shown 
by Morden and Lea have a space, probably a court or 
garden, between their frontages and St James's Street. 
This would account for Pickering Place not being marked, 
as that court only came into existence apparently when 
rebuilding brought the houses right up to the street, and 
any of the older ones left standing behind were connected 
with it by such alleys. This raises the interesting point : 
that we may, I believe, regard the house in Pickering 
Court, facing the entrance, as one of those originally 
standing in St James's Street itself. Crown Court (no 
longer existing, but then situated between Pickering 
Court and what is now King Street) is shown and rather 
confirms what I suggest. 

From Kip's quasi bird's-eye view of London, published 
in 1710-1720, we are able to judge, more or less, of the 
effect produced by the completely built-over street that 
is, so far as concerns the fronts of the houses on the east 
and the backs of those on the west side. We see the pass- 
age into King Street, but hardly as narrow as is usually 
supposed ; indeed, Kip makes it look like a continuation 
of the thoroughfare as it is to-day. The garden, of which 
we have not only written record, but a special picture, at 
the back of the premises occupied by White's Club, on the 
west side, is clearly shown, as are the houses in St James's 
Place (Stable Yard then), a street then running straight 
to the Park wall, with gardens behind those on the south 
side. The houses in St James's Street itself are of regular 
c 33 


elevation, most of them having mansard roofs; one, at 
the south-east corner of the thoroughfare, seems to have 
the indication of a sign hanging before it, although in the 
engraving it is not very clearly defined, and it is quite 
impossible to distinguish what it represents. 

By the time we reach Rocque's famous map (1741-1745) 
we find the street in a matured state and its tributary 
thoroughfares, as they exist to-day, clearly marked. 

There is one plan about which I must say a word, be- 
cause it directly concerns my subject, and also because it 
shows very clearly the division of the two parishes through 
which St James's Street runs. This is the plan of the 
parish of St George's, Hanover Square, dated 1725, and 
now in the possession of the Vestry, which caused it to be 
reproduced in 1880. By it we see that the whole of St 
James's Street is in the parish of St James's, except that 
portion of the west side extending from Piccadilly to Park 
Place (the line of demarcation running along the front of 
the houses in the thoroughfare, turning into Park Place 
and continuing in a straight line to the Park wall, from 
which point it turns northward, skirting the wall until it 
reaches Piccadilly, when it proceeds westward along the 
railings of the Green Park), which is in the parish of St 
George's, and forms a square cut out of the neighbouring 
parish ; in which square are Arlington and Bennet streets 
and the houses on the north side of Park Place. 

The outlines of the parish of St James's are thus given 
in the Statute which confirmed them. The parish then 
comprehended " all the houses and grounds, including a 
place heretofore called St James's Fields, and the -confines 
thereof, beginning at a house at the south side of the east 
end of Catherine (alias Pall Mall) street ; the south of 
the roadway, called Tyburn road, westward, to a house, 
being the sign of the Plough, at the north-west corner of a 
lane, called Mary-le-bone Lane, including the said house ; 



and from thence proceeding southward, on the east side 
of the lane to the north- west corner of Crabtree Fields, 
comprehending the same; and the ground from thence 
westward, to the north-west corner of Ten Acre Field, in 
the occupation of Richard, Earl of Burlington, or his 
assigns, including that field, and the highway between the 
same ; and the garden wall of the said Earl of Burlington, 
to the north-west corner of the said garden wall, including 
that garden, and the mansion house of the said Earl of 
Burlington, fronting Portugal Street. Towards St James's 
House, to the middle channel on the south side of a new 
street called Park Place, 1 comprehending all the east side 
of St James's Street to St James's House, and all the west 
side thereof, from the said middle downwards, as far as 
the same extends, and including the south side of Park 
Place to Cleveland gardens, comprehending the same, and 
Cleveland House, and out-buildings; and also the street 
which leads from the outward gate of the said house, and 
thence to the said Pall Mall street, comprehending all the 
buildings and yards backward to the wall, which encloses 
part of St James's Park, which hath been lately made into 
a garden, extending to a house inhabited by Anthony 
Verrio, painter ; and the late Leonard Girle, gardener ; 
and from thence to the house and garden of Thomas, 
Earl of Sussex, including the same, together with the 
south side of Warwick street to the White Hart Inn 

When, in 1725, the parish of St George's, Hanover 

Square, was formed, it took in (as I have pointed out) the 

west side of St James's Street, from Piccadilly to Park 

Place, the boundary line running through the middle of 

the latter and passing straight through to the Green Park, 

where it returned northwards along the walls of the gardens 

belonging to the houses in Arlington Street up to Piccadilly 

1 Formed 1683. 



again. The section of the plan of the parish, dated 1725, 
here given will illustrate this. 

This chapter may suitably be concluded with the follow- 
ing reference to St James's Street as it was at this 
period, together with a letter facetiously indicative of its 
desagremens half-a-century earlier, taken from Malcolm's 
Anecdotes, published in 1810 : 

"As St James's Street now is, nothing can be more 
convenient than the gradual declination from Piccadilly 
to the Palace. That the houses on each side of the way 
have been almost entirely rebuilt since the year 1765, 
will pretty plainly appear from the ensueing lively paper 
inserted in 'The London Chronicle,' Aug. 15, 1765 : 

" 'We have read a great deal in your paper about Liberty, 
Mr Printer ; give me leave to say a word or two about 
Property, which, talk as they please, the greatest part of 
mankind reckon the most valuable of the two. Our 
sensible forefathers, in framing the Streets of this great 
City, preferred utility to ornament ; and, in St James's 
Street, they were very industrious, that the paving of that 
uneven ground should not prejudice the property of any 
individual. Their wiser sons have wished to reverse this 
practice, and have been full as industrious in conforming 
the buildings to the Scotch paving. The descent from the 
upper to the lower end of this street being so very steep, 
has brought very whimsical distresses upon many of the 
inhabitants some of the ground floors, that were almost 
level with the street, are now eight, nine, and some ten 
steps, and those very steep, from the ground ; while 
others, to which you used to ascend by three or four steps, 
are now as many below the surface. Cellars are now 
above ground and some gentlemen are forced to dive into 
their own parlours. Many laughable accidents, too, have 
happened from this new method of turning the world 



upside down : some persons, not thinking of the late altera- 
tions, attempting to knock at their own door, have fre- 
quently tumbled up their new-erected steps, while others, 
who have been used to ascend to their threshold, have as 
often, for the same reason, tumbled down ; and their fall 
had been the greater, from their lifting up their legs to 
ascend as usual. An old gouty friend of mine complains 
heavily ; he has lain, he says, upon the ground-floor for 
these ten years, and he chose the house he lives in because 
there was no step to the door ; and now he is obliged to 
mount at least nine, before he can get into his bedchamber, 
and the entrance into his house is at the one pair of stairs. 
A neighbour, too, complains he has lost a good lodger, be- 
cause he refused to lower the price of his first floor, which 
the gentleman insisted he ought, as the lodgings are now 
up two pair of stairs. Many of the street doors are not 
above five feet high ; and the owners, when they enter 
their houses, seem as if they were going into a dog-kennel 
rather than their own habitations. To say the truth, no 
fault can be imputed to the trustees : but many are great 
sufferers ; and this method of making the houses conform 
to the ornamental paving, is something like the practice 
of Procrustes, the robber, who made a bed of certain 
dimensions, and whoever was put into it, had his legs cut 
shorter if they were too long, or stretched out if they were 
too short, till the poor wretch was precisely of the length 
with the bed. 
" ' I am, Sir, Yours &c. 




As we have seen, the earliest erections in St James's Street 
were on the east side, and consisted of the row of low-built 
houses which ran up from the south-east corner opposite 
the gardens of Berkshire House. I have mentioned that 
in Kip's Plan of 1710 the corner house appears to have a 
sign hanging from its front. Although it is not clear what 
this represents, I think we may assume from the position of 
the building at the street corner that it was in all prob- 
ability the sign of a tavern. This being so, conjecture can, 
perhaps, identify it with the Poet's Head, which was kept 
by one Edward Smith, who duly issued a token in the 
year 1693. As this token exhibits a head crowned with 
bays it has been assumed that it perpetuates the features 
of Dryden. At the same time we may suppose that any 
representation of a poet would have borne this distinctive 
characteristic ; and a better reason for its being identified 
with Dryden is the fact that, at this period, he was the 
great literary figure in London and was more likely to be 
selected as a " sign " than any other bard. 

In 1691 another tradesman issued a token in St James's 
Street, notably one Robert Noris, a glover, whose trade- 
mark was, appropriately, a glove. I am inclined to place 
his shop somewhere at the lower end of the street, on the 
east side ; but greater particularity is impossible. 

In the year 1793 No. 3 St James's Street is given as being 
in the occupation of Messrs Brown & Willes. Later 



C. Berry's name appeared over the doorway (with 
its fanlight), flanked by two Georgian windows, as it 
appears in a caricature dated 1810, and redolent of 
those Regency days which Deighton and others have so 
well perpetuated. The premises next door, No. 2, were at 
this time kept by Thomas Williams, china-man. No. 4, 
until a few years since the well-known business premises 
of Mr Francis Harvey, the book and print seller, so 
familiar to what the French call amateurs in fine books 
and extra illustrated editions, as well as in prints and 
engravings, was in 1740 the home of William Pickering, a 
prosperous merchant, who acquired much of the adjoining 
property and whose name is perpetuated in Pickering 
Place, one of the most interesting byways in the West 
End of London. It was Pickering who employed Francis 
Hayman, the portrait painter, to decorate his private 
rooms in this house, with frescoes representing scenes 
from Don Quixote (since destroyed). After Pickering 
No. 4 came into the occupation of James Neild, who is 
given as living here in Kent's Directory for 1792. In a 
later chapter I shall return to Neild, and his eccentric son, 
who was born in this house and whose bequest of 50,000 
to Queen Victoria in 1852, has largely helped to make his 
name famous. In the Patent Directory of 1793 Mr Neild, 
senior, is entered as a " silversmith." 

Two notable names appear in an abstract of title, dated 
1710, of these premises. I need only give the extract 
which relates to " all that annual Fee Farm Rent of 80 
arising out of divers pieces and slips of ground then within 
St James's Parish and late within the Parish of St Martin's 
in the Fields, granted by letters patent of his late majesty, 
King Charles 2nd in the 17th year of his reign to Baptist 
May and Abraham Cowley, in trust for Henry, Earl of 
St Albans." 

Baptist May was the well-known architect, the friend of 



John Evelyn and Keeper of the Privy Purse to Charles II. ; 
his combined names survive in Babmaes (or, more properly, 
Babmay 's l ) Mews, in Wells Street, Jermyn Street. Abraham 
Cowley was, of course, the famous poet whose name reads 
strangely in the dry phraseology of a lawyer's office. 

An interesting reminder of what the front of No. 4 St 
James's Street looked like forty odd years ago, is shown by 
the little etching which George Cruikshank produced for 
Mr Harvey, which still remains in the possession of his 
son and successor. 

Two doors farther up the street, notably at No. 6, we 
come to the premises of Messrs Lock, the hatters. In 1793 
James Lock's name appears in the Directory, and the 
shop front which most of us know to-day probably looks 
exactly as it must have done to our forbears when 
George III. was king. 

Next door (No. 7) to Messrs Lock's was, in 1793, the 
shop of W. Walker, perfumer. As Francis Kelsey, con- 
fectioner, is also given as at No. 7, he probably occupied 
the ground floor, while Walker was upstairs. The James 
Matthias who kept an ostrich feather warehouse in St 
James's Street, in 1793, and Mr Richard Wetenhall, a stock- 
broker, both possibly occupied premises on the same side, at 
the south end, although no numbers are given in their case. 

No. 8 has a far more notable connection, for it was when 
lodging there, at the close of 1811 and in 1812, that Lord 
Byron, in his own words, " awoke one morning to find 
himself famous," after the publication of the second and 
third cantos of Childe Harold. Since those days a story 
has been added to the house, and it has been otherwise 
altered, but a large medallion on its front commemorates its 
connection with the poet. This was not the first time that 
Byron had lodged here, for so early as 1808 we find him 

1 So given by Elmes in his Topographical Dictionary of London, 



at this address, and it was from this house, in 1809, that he 
went for the first time to take his seat in the House of Lords. 

Dallas has left the following account of the incident : 
"On that day [March 13th], passing down St James's Street, 
but with no intention of calling, I saw his chariot at his 
door, and went in. His countenance, paler than usual, 
showed that his mind was agitated, and that he was 
thinking of the nobleman l to whom he had once looked 
for a hand and countenance in his introduction to the 
House. He said to me : 'I am glad you happened to 
come in ; I am going to take my seat, perhaps you will 
go with me.' I expressed my readiness to attend him; 
while, at the same time, I concealed the shock I felt on 
thinking that this young man, who, by birth, fortune, and 
talent, stood high in life, should have lived so unconnected 
and neglected by persons of his own rank, that there was 
not a single member of the senate to which he belonged, 
to whom he could or would apply to introduce him in 
a manner becoming his birth. I saw that he felt the 
situation, and I fully partook his indignation." 2 

We find letters from Byron, to his mother and others, 
dated from No. 8, during 1809. At a later period, as we 
shall see, he was living in Bennet Street. 

No. 10, which has recently been converted into the 
headquarters of Messrs Peters, the carriage builders, but 
was formerly Rumpelmeyers and before that a club and 
a coachbuilder's in turn, was in the early days of Queen 
Victoria's reign the St James's Bazaar, which Crockford 
had built, looking, as we can see from Tallis's elevation, 
not unlike it does to-day. 

The mention of Tallis brings me naturally to a con- 
sideration of this portion of St James's Street as it ap- 
pears in his London Street Views. From this source we see 

1 Lord Carlisle. 

a See Moore's Lift of Byron. 



that at that period (roughly, 1835-1840) the corner house, 
No. 1, was Sams's, the well-known book and print shop. 
No. 2, previously, as we have seen, the establishment of 
Thomas Williams, china-man, was occupied by one Hance, 
a hatter. No. 3, at that time a large, double-fronted 
establishment, was jointly inhabited by Berry, the grocer, 
whose sign was the coffee-mill, and Weigall, the engraver. 
Next door (No. 4, Mr Harvey's) was then Crellins', the 
tailor. The Imperial Fire and Life Office was at No. 5 ; 
Lock's, then as now, at No. 6 ; at No. 7, Adam, allitera- 
tively described as a bread and biscuit baker ; at No. 8, 
Osman Giddy, a chemist ; at No. 9, Slater & Son ; and 
then the St James's Bazaar. 

Most of the elevations of these houses indicate that they 
had come down from a much earlier day. No. 8 seems 
to have had a story added to it, but Nos. 1 and 10 are the 
only ones which show marked evidence of rebuilding. 

This particular portion of the roadway is, in some re- 
spects, the most interesting, in that it represents the first 
systematic development of the thoroughfare, and although 
it contains none of the clubs for which St James's Street 
is famous, it may be said to form the nucleus of the street. 
For this reason it is probable that it was in one of these 
houses that Maclean, the highwayman, lodged. We know 
his " diggings " were opposite " White's," at that time a 
few doors from the end of the street on the west side. 
Mrs Letitia Pilkington, the friend of Swift, after being 
separated from her husband, the Rev. Matthew Pilkington, 
opened a small shop, also opposite White's, and therefore 
in one of the houses mentioned above. Her venture was 
not, however, a success, and she was obliged soon after 
to move into a less fashionable quarter. Another shop- 
keeper here was Ridley, the bookseller, who made prob- 
ably more by the sale of Sir John Hill's quack medicines 
than he did by the dissemination of literature. 



SE LLER* T . j^S^^TTT^TT" 

''\, .1 


Frotn a drawing by George Cruikshank 


Continuing our progress up the street, we come to No. 10, 
which stands at the corner of King Street, which had, when 
Tallis executed his view, only recently (1830) become a 
regular thoroughfare, so far as its western end is concerned. 

Between King Street and Ryder Street Tallis shows 
nine houses (Nos. 14 to 22). In the 1793 Patent Directory. 
No. 15 is given as occupied by William Kendall, a glass- 
man. By the by, the No. 12 there set down under the 
name of William Stinton, grocer, must have disappeared 
when King Street was extended over the site of the court 
which formerly connected it with St James's Street. 
Tallis gives No. 14 in his elevation with the name of Pike, 
Breeches-Maker, over it ; but in his Directory ignores it 
altogether and places Pike at No. 15. Probably the tailor 
occupied both houses. Hatters seem specially to have 
favoured St James's Street at this time, and we come 
to another at No. 16, notably one named Caterer. The 
next two houses, Nos. 16 1 and 17, formed the large 
double-fronted building then occupied by the bank of 
Messrs Herries, Farquhar, Davidson & Co., whose firm, 
under the name of Sir Robert Herries & Co., is found in 
the Rate Books for 1785 paying rates on a rental of 150. 

At No. 18 we find Willis & Co., tailors; at No. 19, 
Brumley, glass manufacturer; at No. 20, Nugee, tailor 
(whom Thackeray mentions, by the by) ; Nicholls & 
Housley, silk mercers, at No. 21 ; and Lewis, silversmith 
and jeweller, at No. 22. 

The houses of this block, between King Street and 
Ryder Street, are of higher elevation than those lower 
down, and although some of them, notably Nos. 18, 19 
and 20, exhibit characteristically Georgian fronts, the 

1 Tallis is here contradictory. In his view he gives Nos. 16 and 
17 as the bank ; but in his Directory he places Caterer at No. 16, 
and the bank at No. 17. Probably, during the preparation of his 
work, the bank had absorbed Caterer's establishment. 



majority have evidently been refaced to suit the taste of 
a later period. 

The numbers of the houses forming the next block, be- 
tween Ryder and Jermyn Streets, run from 23 to 35. In 
1793 No. 25 was occupied by one Baux, a shoemaker. 
Nos. 26 and 27 formed, till recently, the double-fronted 
shop of Banting, undertaker and upholsterer, whose 
name is famous in the annals of the anti-fat campaign ; 
William Banting, a man of vast proportions, having 
adopted the method of reducing his bulk by a meat diet 
and abstinence from beer, farinaceous foods and vege- 
tables. He died in 1878, aged eighty- two, so that his 
scheme did not, at any rate, shorten his life. No. 26 was 
once a noted gambling hell miscalled the Athenaeum, and 
was kept by Messrs Bond, who made a fortune out of the 
enterprise. No. 28 l was inhabited, jointly, by John Abbot, 
silversmith, and James Turner, jeweller, and No. 33, by 
William Middleton, mercer and draper. 

Tallis shows us Messrs Briggs at No. 23, as they are 
to-day, and next door Messrs Welch & Gwynne, print- 
sellers and publishers. One Garcia, a fruiterer, has taken 
Baux's place at No. 25, and No. 26 was then occupied by 
Charles Jones, gunmaker, and Bromley's auction rooms. 
Next door to No. 27 comes Boodle's Club, with its beautiful 
Adams front. Nos. 29, 30 and 31 were respectively 
occupied by Hummel & Co., hosiers, Bryant, a picture 
dealer, and Dodd, a tailor. At No. 32 we have another 
double tenancy, for Tallis gives H. J. M'Clary, librarian 
and stationer, and Angelo's School of Arms, as being here. 
A book label which I possess bears the name of Ann 
M'Gary as being at No. 32, so it is probable that the 

1 There has been renumbering, for Boodle's was established here 
in 1765, and in 1877 is given (by Leigh, in his New Picture of 
London), as being at No. 31, while White's, now No. 37, is set down 
as at No. 43. 


H. J. M'Clary was a son of this lady. It was, earlier, at 
No. 29, then the shop of Miss Humphrey, that the carica- 
tures of Gillray were exhibited, and collected such crowds 
on the pavement in front. Here the artist himself lodged, 
and in a fit of insanity ended his life by throwing himself 
from an upper window. At No. 32, the once well-known 
bookseller, Robert Triphook, had his shop, over which 
Cam Hobhouse lodged at one time. Triphook was a kind 
of literary assistant to Sir Walter Scott, and collected in- 
formation for him, notably when he was engaged on The 
Pirate. As Hobhouse was the intimate friend of Byron, 
No. 32 is indirectly identified with the two leading literary 
men of that period. Of Angelo's famous academy I 
shall say more in another chapter, but I may state here, 
that the premises occupied by it were first built as part of 
Colonel Redham's celebrated riding-school, and were taken 
by the grandson of the original Angelo in 1830. Angelo's 
partner, William M'Turk, and his two sons had their 
salle d'armes here later (from 1866). 

Next door (No. 33) G. Walker, tailor and habit-maker, 
carried on his business. Walker seems to have been a 
pioneer and to have discovered a new method of making 
trousers, like Mr Goren, in Evan Harrington, whom Mere- 
dith x may have modelled on the St James's Street artist. 
His advertisement is worth reproducing : " Trousers on 
a New Principle. Walker, 33 St James's Street, has 
discovered an entirely new principle of Cutting Trousers, 
and offers to furnish the Nobility, Gentry, and the Public, 
with this important article of dress, admirably adapted 
to the display of the figure, and at the same time affording 
such comfort in all exercises as to insure the highest satis- 

1 By the by, the great novelist himself once lodged in St James's 
Street, and it would be interesting if it could be established that 
he did so at No. 33. His own father was, it will be remembered, a 



faction to those who honour him with orders. If Art can 
give ornament to Nature, if any thing can surpass her in 
the contour of a limb, it is when cloth is made elegantly to 
fit the same, then it may fairly be admitted that Art has 
added a charm even to Nature. G. W. begs to add, that 
he continues to supply Uniforms for Officers of the Army 
and Navy, also Deputy Lieutenants' and Court Dresses, 
in the most tasteful style and at moderate charges for 
Ready Money." 

Next to this great artist, T. I. Mortimer had his gun 
and pistol manufactory, and at No. 35 (the corner of 
Jermyn Street) still another firm of hatters appear, notably 
Messrs I. & F. Evans, who combined a hosiery business 
with their other branch. The feature of this block of St 
James's Street is, of course, Boodle's Club-house, which 
was designed by the Adams and erected by John Crunden 
about 1765. In 1821-1824 large improvements and 
additions were made (a new reading-room was one of 
them) under the direction of J. B. Papworth. 1 Of the 
other houses between Ryder Street and Jermyn Street I 
would draw attention to Messrs Briggs', at the corner of 
the former thoroughfare, as being probably, from its much 
lower elevation (in Tallis's view) than the rest, a survival 
of the first buildings erected on this side of St James's 
Street. To-day everything has, of course, become altered 
except the front of Boodle's, which remains essentially as 
it first appeared when the Adams designed it. 

From Jermyn Street to Piccadilly the street is 
numbered from 36, at the north corner of the former 
thoroughfare, to 42. Among these houses given in the 
Patent Directory for 1793 are No. 37, then occupied by 
John Wilson, perfumer; No. 38, the shop of Francis 
Knight & Son, stationers; and No. 41, in the occupa- 
tion of William Jones, saddler. According to Tallis, the 
1 For Boodle's Club, see Chapter VI. 


inhabitants in this portion of St James's Street were as 
follows: No. 36, a double house, was jointly occupied 
by Thomas, bootmaker, on the south portion, and Eley, 
whose premises are described as the " Patent Wire Cart- 
ridge Warehouse." It is interesting to read Eley's ad- 
vertisements, addressed " To Sportsmen," and headed by 
a diagram showing five birds (presumably grouse) rising 
amid a shower of shot. This is what Eley has to say about 
the merits of his patent : 

" Eley's patent wire cartridges, for shooting game, &c., 
at long distances, are warranted to make all guns kill from 
twenty to forty yards further than a loose charge. They 
are strongly recommended by the following eminent sport- 
ing authors: Colonel Hawker, author of 'Instructions 
to Sportsmen ' ; T. B. Johnson Esq., author of the ' Game- 
keeper's Directory,' &c. ; Nimrod ; J. Oakleigh Esq., 
author of * The Oakleigh Shooting Code ' ; James Tyler 
Esq., author of 'The Shooter's Manual ' ; W. Watt Esq., 
author of 'Remarks on Shooting, inverse.' A prospectus 
containing the testimonials of the above-named authors, 
and further information may be had on application at the 
warehouse, 36 St James's Street. They are well worth 
the attention of merchants and captains. To be had of 
all gunmakers." 

No No. 87 is given, it obviously being included with 
No. 38, the famous White's Club-house, about which I 
shall have a good deal to say later on. No. 39 was then 
occupied by Messrs Moore & Co., hatters; No. 40 by 
E. Hogg, military tailor; No. 41, by M'Dowall, watch 
and clock maker, whose advertisement tells us that he was 
the inventor of the " Helix Lever and Revolving Endless 
Gravitating Time Piece, without springs, chains, Barrels, 
fusees, and keys, and Quiescent Armillary Escape ! " 

Over the shop of this inventive genius were the York 
Chambers (also numbered 41), where Campbell the poet 



once lived, and next door, at the corner of Piccadilly, at 
No. 42, Barclay had his furrier and hat establishment ; 
premises now rebuilt and occupied by the Union of 
London and Smith's Bank. 

We thus see that, at the beginning of Queen Victoria's 
reign, St James's Street had practically the same character 
as it enjoys to-day. Then, as now, business establish- 
ments occupied most of its houses, a famous bank among 
them; then, as now, two well-known clubs were here 
(to-day, by the by, the Sandown Park Gub occupying 
part of No. 4 and the Kempton Park Club at No. 23A are 
additions). What taverns or coffee-houses there may 
have been here in earlier days had by then disappeared, 
such as the King's Head, next to White's, and Parsloe's, 
which adjoined Pickering Place, in 1796, then carried on 
by Jane Parsloe and known for its literary associations, 
where the Johnson Club once held its meetings, and the 
Chess Club, of which the great Philidor was a member. 
The elevations of the houses on the east side of the street 
have been altered for the most part out of all recognition. 
The two well-known fronts, which are, however, essentially 
as they were when Tallis made his drawings, are those of 
White's and Boodle's, and there are one or two houses at 
the lower end of the street which are of an earlier date. 
But rebuilding has been rampant. The north and south 
corners have both been reconstructed, the former especi- 
ally, on a splendid scale. The bank, whose old front we 
remember (as it looked in Tallis's plan) has been converted 
into a fine building and has embraced the formerly separ- 
ate house at the corner of King Street. The St James's 
Bazaar has undergone several metamorphoses, although 
its area has not been extended. Just as brick gave way 
to stucco under the eegis of Nash, so has stucco now dis- 
appeared in favour of stone, and St James's Street is 
exhibiting evidences of that great rebuilding of London 



which, when completed, should leave it the most beautiful, 
as it is the largest, city in the world. 


The west side of St James's Street has never had quite 

the same character as the east. In the first place, just as 

its tributary streets have always been more residential 

than those opposite, so the premises in the thoroughfare 

itself have shared something of this characteristic. There 

have been, and are, more clubs on this side : White's (in 

its early days, although one must not forget that it was, 

first of all, on the east side), The Thatched House, arising 

out of the tavern of that name, Brooks's, Crockford's, 

Arthur's, The Cocoa Tree, The Devonshire (Crockford's 

successor), The New University, The Royal Societies and 

The Conservative have all been here and nearly all still 

remain. Unlike the east side, too, it has had its hotels : 

Fenton's, at No. 63, and the St James's Royal Hotel, kept 

by English, at No. 88, at the corner of Cleveland Row ; 

Symon's Hotel at Nos. 57 and 58 ; Ellis's at Nos. 59 and 60, 

and Graham's at No. 87, next door to English's. The 

west side has thus had a more residential character than 

the east ; but it has not been quite innocent of business 

premises. In the Patent Directory for 1798, however, I 

find only one name given between Piccadilly and Bennet 

Street, notably that of Henry Holland, music- seller, at 

No. 48, the corner house, which in Tallis's time was 

occupied by Hoby, the famous bootmaker, and is now 

absorbed in the splendid offices of the Royal Insurance 

Company, and where, in 1788, Ozias Humphrey, the 

miniature painter, lodged. Next door is given in Tallis's 

Directory, as being occupied by the Guards' Club (until 

recently in Pall Mall and now in Mount Street), and then 

Crockford's long front (now the Devonshire Club) faces 

D 49 


the street till we come to No. 53, then owned and occupied 
by " Crockford Esq.," the proprietor. Next door to him, 
and at the corner of Bennet Street, is No. 54, which was 
formerly the headquarters of another and smaller pro- 
prietary club, notably Bond's, afterwards moved to 
No. 26, on the opposite side. 1 These last two houses 
have for many years now been Messrs Harper's, coach- 
builders, establishment, which, with the Devonshire Club 
and the Royal Insurance Company, thus occupy jointly 
the block between Piccadilly and Bennet Street. 

Between the latter thoroughfare and Park Place the 
houses are numbered 55 to 61. Of these the Directory of 
1793 gives the former as being in the occupation of John 
Thomas, goldsmith. By about 1835-1840, Richards, a 
chemist, had replaced Thomas here, and next door (No. 56) 
were J. Gurney & Co., tailors, the remainder of this 
portion of the street 2 being filled by the double houses 
occupied by Symon's and Ellis's hotels, and Brooks's 
Club-house at the corner of Park Place. Tallis gives the 
club as numbered 61 (it is now No. 60), but crossing Park 
Place we find the house at its south corner also numbered 
61, which is shown as being jointly occupied by R. Payn, 
wine importer, and Mrs Geary, who kept here her 
" Magasin de Nouveautes." Next door was J. Lauriere, 
a jeweller. It was here that the famous Betty had her 
fruit shop, the rendezvous of the wits and fine gentleman 
of the period, where the queen of applewomen dispensed 
opinions on politics as she served out her pears and pine- 
apples. It is safe to say that, for a considerable period, 
Betty (Mrs Neale was her proper name) was as much an 
institution of St James's Street as White's or Brooks's. 
We shall meet with her again in the chapter on famous 

1 Mr Wheatley gives Lord Nelson as lodging at No. 54 in 1800 ; 
in the same year he went to rooms in Arlington Street. 
8 Nos. 57 and 58 are now the New University Club-house. 



men and women, where I shall give some further details 
of her and her customers. 

Fenton's Hotel at No. 63 was in the street's early days 
Peyrault's * Bagnio, established about 1699, a very fashion- 
able lounge. It is interesting to know that the charge for 
a cold bath was then two shillings and sixpence, and for 
a warm one five shillings ! 

Between these premises and the next house were certain 
mews. These occupied what, in a plan dated 1825, is 
termed Stable Yard ; in Rhodes' map of 1770 and the 
Rate Books for 1785, Blue Ball Yard 2 ; and in the Rate 
Books (1685 and passim) Stable Yard. 

Continuing from the south corner of these mews we 
have (according to Tallis) Croker's Universal Literary 
Cabinet at No. 64; Pulford, tailor, at No. 65; a rival 
of the same trade, in Williamson, next door, and at 67 
Philip & Whicker, cutlers and surgeons' instrument 
makers, at the corner of St James's Place. In this block 
the Royal Societies Club at No. 63, and the Cocoa Tree 
Club at No. 64 occupy the site of the Universal Literary 
Cabinet and its neighbouring house. In 1793 Lloyd 
Thackeray & Co., wine merchants, were at No. 65. 

At the other (south) corner of St James's Place the 
house is numbered 67 by Tallis (as in the case of 61), and 
in this building one Robertson carried on the trade of 
"French Bread and Biscuit Baker." Next door was 
R. Johnson, sword cutler, evidently a successor to Messrs 
Bland & Foster, who were carrying on the same business 
here in 1793. In this year Peter Wirgman is given as 
jeweller at No. 69, where Johnson once bought a pair of 
shoe-buckles, by the by ; but in Tallis's time that house 
had been incorporated in Arthur's Club, which comprised 
both this and the next house (No. 70). At 71, Tallis 

1 It is sometimes called Pierault's and sometimes Pero's. 
8 As given in Elmes's Topographical Dictionary, 1831. 



gives one Haynes, probably a letter of apartments, and 
Deighton, a tailor. Smith & Co., fruiterers, are at No. 72, 
where, in 1793, John Jollyfe had had a bookshop, and at 
No. 73, Halpin, tailor and breeches-maker. 

A very narrow alley shown in Tallis's view is Little St 
James's Street, which, in Rhodes's plan of 1770, is given 
as Catherine Wheel Yard, not to be confounded with 
Little Catherine Wheel Yard, which was at the bottom of 
the street and ran into Cleveland Row. 

No. 76 St James's Street, at the south corner of this 
yard, was occupied during the early years of Queen 
Victoria's reign by one Boss, a gun-maker, as well as 
by Miss Bidney, who enjoyed the distinction of being 
" Honiton Lace Manufacturer to Her Majesty." Two 
doors off, at No. 74, the Conservative Club is to-day 
established. Continuing down the street we find, accord- 
ing to Tallis, No. 77 occupied by Charles Moore, gun- 
maker; No. 78, by Messrs Strong, hatters and hosiers. 
No. 79, which in 1793 was the shop of another hatter, 
named Moneys, is found to be occupied by one Mimpress, 
a jeweller; and next door was the Thatched House 
Club (now No. 86 1 ), kept by Messrs J. and W. Willis. 
Nos. 81 to 83 are given by Tallis as the shops of 
Harrison, tobacconist, Martin, tailor, and Page, wig- 
maker, respectively ; while at No. 84 Fisher, hosier, is 
found replacing Jane Hatch, jeweller, who was there in 
1793. The Albion Club a proprietary establishment of 
which little seems to be known occupied what was then 
No. 84. Next door (No. 86) was the shop of Messrs G. and 
J. Gary, map and globe publishers, and at No. 87, Graham's 
Club-house, a once notable gambling centre, which came 
to an end in the early forties. It was a great place for 
whist, and Lord Henry Bentinck is here said to have 

1 C. Dyer, print-seller, is mentioned by J. T. Smith (Nollekens and 
his Times) as carrying on his business at a shop close to this club. 



initiated that particular call for trumps known as the 
"Blue Peter." With the double-fronted corner house 
(No. 88), in Tallis's day known as the St James's Royal 
Hotel and kept by C. G. English, we come to the end of 
the buildings on the west side of St James's Street. 

Among them those that stood out architecturally were 
Crockford's (replaced by the Devonshire Club), Brooks's 
(still existing practically as it was a hundred years ago), 1 
Fenton's Hotel (No. 63), where the Royal Societies Club 
is now, Arthur's, and English's Hotel which has not long 
since been massively rebuilt. For the rest, although some 
of the houses showed signs of rehabilitation, the majority 
of them bore, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, 
the characteristics, allowing for reconstruction, of an earlier 

To-day so much rebuilding has taken place on both 
sides of the street, and is still gradually progressing, that 
the views given by Tallis (here reproduced) will enable 
the reader to see at a glance what a metamorphosis the 
thoroughfare has undergone. 

It is always difficult to reconstruct in one's mind the 
earlier features of a street which has been so much rebuilt 
as has the thoroughfare under consideration. For in- 
stance, it would tax the memory in no slight degree if one 
tried to remember the outlines of the building which, only 
the other day, as it seems, gave place to the fine offices of 

1 Brooks's is specifically referred to by Ralph (Critical Review of 
the Public Buildings, etc., of London) in the following passage: 
" St James's Street is much more remarkable for the natural 
advantages and beauty of the ground, than from any addition it 
has received from art. The house at the corner of Park Place is 
well proportioned, and has considerable merit. The palace-gate, 
notwithstanding its advantageous position at the end of this 
street, has a very mean appearance." 

If Ralph's ghost revisits the glimpses of the moon, it is possible 
that it would see reason for amending this very wholesale criticism. 



the Royal Insurance Company, at the north-west corner 
of St James's Street. The houses at that point shown 
by Tallis had in their turn been rebuilt, so that his eleva- 
tions are of no assistance. But it so happens that E. J. 
Gregory, R.A., in his picture of Piccadilly, shows the 
immediate predecessors, not only of the insurance offices 
named but also of the equally fine block on the north- 
west side of the street ; for which reason I here reproduce 
it through the courtesy of The Studio, in which publication 
it appeared. 

Something of the earlier St James's Street can be evoked 
from the pencil of Hogarth and the caricaturists of the 
eighteenth century, etc., 1 although in the famous plate 
in The Rake's Progress the architectural detail is so 
subsidiary to the story related that we can merely see in 
that picture the straight, rather formal but wholly digni- 
fied Georgian houses which were common to so many 
London thoroughfares of the period. Indeed, with a few 
exceptions, it is the human element that makes for the 
fascination of St James's Street, and about that aspect 
of it I shall have something to say in another chapter. 
Architecturally its day is to come. There is ample 
evidence that it is dawning even now, and it will not 
apparently be long before, on either side, those splendid 
stone-fronted buildings, of which a few are already in 
existence, will be the rule, not, as now, the exception. 
When this reconstruction is complete it will be still more 
difficult to recall to mind those less ambitious but hardly 
less picturesque red-brick structures of which so few have 

1 1 may mention A Sequel to the Battle of Temple Bar, The 
British Patriots'- Procession through London, and The Funeral 
Procession of the Duke of York, inter alia, a reproduction of the 
first being given in this volume. 





IN this chapter I want to speak of those streets and courts 
which still run into St James's Street, or which once did so. 
Most of them are both of the past and the present ; a few 
have, however, disappeared. Before describing these I 
must point out that I have thought it best to deal in 
quite a general way with Jermyn Street : it has a history 
of its own, so to speak ; its length carries it into a region 
which, if fully dealt with, would make it necessary equally 
to deal with an equivalent area on other sides of St James's 
Street, with the result that, instead of writing the history 
of this particular thoroughfare, I should, if I trespassed 
so far outside its boundaries, be relating the history of a 
large portion of the West End. With regard to King 
Street, the other important tributary, the case is different, 
as it extends but a relatively short way, and St James's 
Square forms its natural limit. 

One of the earliest detailed plans showing St James's 
Street is the map of St James's Parish, published by 
William Rhodes in 1770. By this we find, on the east side, 
the following streets and courts marked : Pickering Place, 
Gloucester Court, King Street, Little Rider Street, Fox 
Court, 1 Crown and Sceptre Court, Little Jermyn Street 
and Villiers Court. I will take this side first before re- 
ferring to the outlets on the opposite side of the way. 

1 In 1698 three people were living here viz. John Bennett, 
Thomas Ealy and John Hurst. 




This court is now known as Pickering Place, and runs 
up by the side of No. 4 St James's Street. It was origin- 
ally called Strode's, or Stroud's, 1 Court, no doubt taking 
its name from a former ground landlord who lived close by 
in St James's Street. When it first assumed its present 
name is not clear. In Dodsley's London, 1761, it is re- 
ferred to as Pickering Court ; while in a Directory for 1758 
it is given, indifferently, both as Pickering Court and 
Streuds (sic) Court. It is, therefore, probable that it was 
about this time that its name was altered. William 
Pickering, a prosperous merchant, is known to have 
established himself at No. 4 St James's Street in 1740, 
and to have gradually acquired most of the adjoining 
property. When Rocque issued his plan of London a few 
years later he called the place Pickering's Court ; and in 
the Rate Books for 1785 it is so given ; four people were 
then living in it viz. Lord Kirkcudbright, Matthew 
Hallagan, Josiah Winnock and James Parsloe. 

There is extant a card-plate of the Georgian period on 
which is engraved the following : " 5 Pickering Place, 
St James's Street, Rouge and Roulette, French and 
English Hazard. Commence at one o'clock." No name 
appears on the plate, for rather obvious reasons, this 
house at the bottom of the court facing St James's 
Street, and still in existence, being then one of the most 
notorious gambling hells in London. Its fashionable 
position, no less than its sequestered situation (you 
may, to-day, easily pass its entrance court without 
observing it), made it peculiarly fitted for its purpose. 
How long its career of this character lasted, it is difficult 
to say ; but it is probable that the place existed as a 

1 It is so given in the Rate Books for 1695, etc. Maitland, in 
1739, also gives it thus. 





gambling centre down to the beginning of the nineteenth 

To-day the " Place " has a quiet and retired air there 
is something almost cloistral about it its little flagged 
courtyard being reached by a passage, the sides of which 
are half-timbered and are, no doubt, a relic of the earliest 
buildings of St James's Street. It alone shares with the 
neighbouring Palace something of the antiquity which 
has no other survivals in this neighbourhood. 


Gloucester Court no longer exists, but it was formerly 
situated nine houses from the bottom of St James's Street, 
in which position Elmes, in his Topographical Dictionary 
of London (1831), gives it. Maitland, in 1739, does not 
mention it, but as it is marked in Rhodes 's plan (1770) we 
can trace its formation approximately. It was probably 
swept out of existence when the St James's Bazaar was 
built, as that building was next to No. 9 St James's 
Street. This Bazaar was erected by Crockford, from the 
design of G. Bond, 1 in 1832. I may mention here that, 
according to Timbs, this building (still in existence, but 
internally reconstructed) had a saloon 200 feet long, and 
that here were exhibited, in 1841, three dioramic tableaux 
of the second funeral of Napoleon, to which we may be 
sure Thackeray 2 was a visitor ; and that in 1844 the 
first exhibition of the decorative works for the new Houses 
of Parliament were here shown. 

At a subsequent period the building was converted into 
chambers, and between 1883 and 1884 it underwent 
another transformation, the Junior Army and Navy Club 

1 The designs were continued by Sir J. Pennethorne. 

2 Who wrote The Second Funeral of Napoleon, it will be 



having acquired it. Under Wyatt Papworth, the archi- 
tect, the interior was wholly reconstructed and made 
suitable for its new purpose. 

It is within recent years that the club gave up its home 
here and that the premises were acquired by Rumpel- 
meyer, whose tea-rooms (now moved to the opposite 
side of St James's Street) were a fashionable lounge. 
Since his removal the place was occupied as a carriage- 
builder's, and at the time of writing is again undergoing 
alteration for a like purpose. As the building occupies a far 
longer frontage to King Street than it does to St James's 
Street, and has its principal entrance there, it properly 
takes its place in the account of the former, rather than in 
that of the latter, thoroughfare. 

It seems probable that Gloucester Court was so named 
after the Duke of Gloucester, the brother of George III., 
although the fact cannot be substantiated. 


King Street, apart from its being one of the more 
important turnings out of St James's Street, is notable 
as containing the site of the famous Almack's, as well 
as the one-time residence of Napoleon III., and as, to-day, 
being identified with the world-known establishment of 

King Street was made in 1673, and was one of the 
thoroughfares which formed part of the development of 
St James's Square, by Lord St Albans. At its north-east 
comer stood Halifax House, whose occupier, George 
Savile, Lord Halifax, the celebrated Trimmer, is entered 
in the Rate Books as of "King's Street in St James's 
Fields." His connection with this neighbourhood, how- 
ever, is more properly associated with the Square itself, 
on which his residence abutted, just as is that of the 



From a drawing l<y T. H. Shepherd 


Duke of Cleveland, who occupied the house opposite 
(with an entrance in King Street), at the south-west 
corner of the Square, in 1726. 

In its earlier form King Street had no carriage com- 
munication with St James's Street, a narrow court con- 
necting the two, till 1830, when the roadway was made a 
uniform width, as it is at present. This change may be 
traced, I imagine, to the erection of the St James's Bazaar, 
which rose some two years later, and which was responsible 
for the pulling down of the small houses at the south-west 
corner of the court. 

Besides containing this large building, as well as Messrs 
Christie's l at No. 8, which, by the by, stands on the site 
of what was formerly Wilson's European Emporium or 
Museum, that place in turn following a gambling hell 
of unenviable notoriety, and Willis's Rooms (originally 
Almack's) opposite, King Street has in it the St James's 
Theatre, which was erected, in 1835, from the designs of 
Samuel Beazley for Braham, the singer, whose fame has 
been perpetuated in the inimitable prose of Lamb. 

Under his aegis, however, the place was not an unquali- 
fied success, and Kenney once told Alfred Bunn that, 
hearing Braham express himself satisfied with the number 
in the pit on a certain occasion, he took the trouble to 
count them, and found the audience in that part of the 

1 Messrs Christie's have been in King Street since 1823, moving 
hence from Pall Mall in that year. The history of the great 
house's foundation does not, therefore, properly belong to these 
pages, nor is it necessary to set down the long list of famous sales, 
from that of the Bernal collection in 1855, and the Hamilton 
Palace dispersal in 1882 downwards, because a splendid record of 
the initiation and gradual development of the firm, and an ex- 
haustive list of its sales, with some of the special lots disposed of, 
and the prices they fetched, has been compiled by Mr W. Roberts 
in his Memorials of Christie's, 2 vols., 1879; wherein may be read 
so much of the romance of that famous sale-room and not a little of 
the vanity of human wishes. 



house numbered exactly seventeen ! At a later date the 
great Rachel electrified London at the St James's and 
here scored some of her most notable triumphs. Much 
later still, Ravel and Schneider played here to crowded 
houses, and in our own days the theatre has been largely 
associated with the successes identified with the names of 
the Kendals, Sir John Hare and Sir George Alexander. 
In 1879 the interior was completely remodelled, and from 
that date to 1888 Hare and the Kendals occupied it. 

At one time the street boasted an hotel to wit, Nerot's, 
at No. 19 and I find it specifically mentioned in the year 
1782 ; but it cannot claim to have a history except for the 
fact that Nelson on his return to London, after the battle 
of the Nile, stayed here for a short time, his wife and 
father having come here previously to receive him. 

Of distinguished residents King Street has had its share. 
Here, in 1712, Theresa Blount was lodging "next door to 
my Lord Salisbury's," as Pope addresses her in that year. 
The Lord Salisbury referred to must have been the 5th 
Earl, who succeeded to the title in 1694, and died in 1728. 
Another one-time resident was Sir John Pringle, a Presi- 
dent of the Royal Society, who died " at his apartments 
in King Street, St James's Square," in January 1782. It 
is Pringle, it will be remembered, whom Boswell describes 
as "my own friend and my Father's friend," but whom 
Johnson could not away with. On the famous journey 
to Auchinleck, Boswell was at infinite pains to induce 
Johnson to avoid three subjects of discussion with 
his father, Sir John Pringle being one. A lady as much 
forgotten to-day as the worthy President (who, indeed, 
has a sort of fame in being frequently referred to in the 
great biography) was Charlotte Smith, who was born in 
King Street on 4th May 1749. She has been described as 
a once celebrated novelist and sonneteer, but her fame is 
distinctly of yesterday. She died in 1806, and all that 



is remembered (if they be remembered) of her literary 
activity are her two later works, The Old English 
Manor House and Emmeline. 

In view of the many beautiful things which have 
changed hands at Christie's, it is interesting to find that 
when, in 1783, Sir William Hamilton purchased the 
famous Barberini vase, he took lodgings in King Street. 
Miss Hamilton writes in her diary, under date of 31st 
December 1783 : " We went to my uncle Sir W. H., at 
the Hotel [? Nerot's] in King Street, St James's ; ye Dss 
[of Portland] was already there ; saw ye fine Vase." * 

At an earlier date, Swift speaks of Lady Worsley (a 
beauty of the period, wife of Sir Robert Worsley and 
daughter of Lord Weymouth) lodging " in the very house 
in King St. where D. D. 's mother bought the sweetbread 
when I lodged there, and M. D. came to see me." 2 

King Street possesses one mural tablet. It is on the 
small house, No. 3A, at the St James's Square end of the 
street. Here Louis Napoleon lodged ; hence he set out 
for his descent on Boulogne; and this house he pointed 
out to his Empress, as they were driving down St James's 
Street in triumph on the occasion of their State visit to 
Queen Victoria. The "Man of Destiny" must have 
had strange thoughts as he compared his humble style of 
life as an adventurer whom few took seriously, with his 
apotheosis as Emperor of a great people. Even his in- 
scrutable eyes must have lighted up for a moment at the 
revenges which Time had brought him. 

He lived in King Street for two years, 1838-1840, 
having, when he came here, been but recently expelled 
from Switzerland. While here he was enrolled as a 

1 Mrs Delany's Autobiography, vol. vi., p. 192. 

"Journal to Stella. D. D. was Mrs Dingley; M. D., Stella 
herself. When Swift speaks of lodging here, he evidently means 
in Bury Street, where he had rooms. 



special constable during the Chartist riots, and he also 
took part, in August 1839, in the famous rain-spoilt 
Eglinton Tournament. 

Bishop Wilberforce, in his diary, describes the future 
Emperor as he was at this time, and particularly mentions 
his mean-looking appearance; he was small, "with a 
tendency to embonpoint, and had a remarkable way of, as 
it were, swimming up a room, with an uncertain gait ; a 
small grey eye, looking cunning, but with an aspect of 
softness in it too." 

Notwithstanding many disabilities, however, and the 
fact that he was a proscribed person, he, to use Archibald 
Forbes's words, "at once made good his footing in the 
best circles of the British capital, and he became immedi- 
ately a personage of high social interest and importance." 
He led the life of a man of fashion and was a persona grata 
at Gore House ; but the more serious side of his character 
was evinced by the publication, in 1839, of those Idees 
Napoleoniennes, which have been described as " the 
brightest and fullest expression " of his mind. 

Although the house in King Street was his chief pied-d- 
terre at this period, he seems, on his first arrival in London, 
to have put up at Fenton's Hotel in St James's Street, and 
to have spent some time both at Lord Cardigan's house 
in Carlton House Terrace and Lord Ripon's in Carlton 

Nearly opposite Napoleon III. 's old house is the quaint, 
picturesque little building (No. 29) now occupied by the 
Orleans Club, which was formed in 1877, and largely 
identified with the sporting name of Sir John Astley the 
Mate who so greatly interested himself in the club when 
it had its suburban headquarters at Orleans House, 




On the north side of King Street are two thoroughfares, 
Bury and Duke Streets. The former (where Brummeirs 
grandfather let lodgings, by the by) would be more pro- 
perly written Berry, for it was named after a Mr Berry, 1 
the ground-landlord of most of the houses in it, and was 
formed in 1672. It is chiefly notable as having once con- 
tained a house in which Steele lived from 1707 to 1710, 
and another where Swift lodged at various times. Fre- 
quent references to the former, which was next door to 
the residence of Lady Berkeley, are to be found in Steele's 
letters. One to his wife, before their marriage, contains 
the following : "I believe it would not be amiss if some 
time this afternoon you took a coach or chair and went 
to see a house next door to Lady Berkeley's towards St 
James's Street, which is to let." On other occasions he 
mentions the position of the house with great particularity, 
as thus : " Mrs Steele. At her house 3rd door from 
Germain Street, left hand in Berry Street " ; and again, 
" Mrs Steele. At her house the last house but two on the 
left hand, Berry Street, St James's." Mrs Vanderput was 
the Steeles' landlady here. We know that once she had 
Dick arrested for arrears of rent, in November 1708, which 
no doubt was the reason for his referring to her (as he 
does in a letter to his wife) as " that insufferable brute." 

Two years later Steele again came to lodge here, so I 
suppose either that he had made it up with Mrs Vanderput 
or that another landlady ruled in her place. It is inter- 
esting in connection with this second sojourn to find the 
following passage in a letter (dated 28th July 1710) from 
Dennis the critic to Steele 2 : "I should only, perhaps, 
have advised you, in order to the preventing some trouble- 

1 He died in 1735, and was then over one hundred years of age 

2 Given in London Past and Present. 



some visits, and some impertinent letters, to cause an 
advertisement to be inserted in Squire Bickerstaff ' s next 
Lucubrations, by which the world might be informed that 
the Captain Steele who lives now in Bury Street is not the 
Captain of the same name who lived there two years ago, 
and that the acquaintance of the military person who in- 
habited there formerly, may go look for their old friend, 
e'en where they can find him." From what we know of 
Dick Steele's history, the advice is suggestive. 

Steele 's one-time residence, described by Cunningham 
as " over against No. 20," was demolished in 1830. Swift 
first came to lodge in Bury Street in September 1710. He 
refers to it in a letter to Stella, thus: "I lodge in Berry 
Street, where I removed a week ago. I have the first floor, 
a dining-room, and a bed-chamber, at eight shillings a 
week ; playing deep, but I spend nothing for eating, never 
go to a tavern, and very seldom in a coach ; yet, after all, 
it will be expensive." l It was not altogether satisfactory 
apparently, for on 8th November he writes : " Impudence, 
if you vex me ; I will give ten shillings a week for my 

lodgings, for I am almost st k out of this with the sink, 

and it helps me to verses in my ' shower. ' " a And again 
in December he moans: "What is this? faith, I smell 
fire ; what can it be ? this house has a thousand stinks 
in it. I think to leave it on Thursday, and lodge over the 
way." Apparently he did not go to a house opposite, for 
although he bespoke it the landlord let it to someone else. 
" I gave him no earnest, so it seems he could do it," writes 

The result was that he had to find apartments elsewhere, 
and settled on some in St Albans Street, a thoroughfare 

1 Journal to Stella, 2pth September 1710. 

z " Returning home at night, you'll find the sink 
Strike your offended sense with double stink." 

Description of a City Shower. 



removed in 1815 to make way for Waterloo Place. At 
a later period, however, Swift returned to Bury Street, 
for on his last visit to England in 1726 we find him 
lodging there, "next to the 'Royal Chair." Five doors 
away Mrs Vanhomrigh and her daughter Vanessa lived, 
and it was in their Bury Street lodgings that the latter, 
as she told the Dean, saw "something in your looks so 
awful that it strikes me dumb." 

By the side of such great figures as those of Steele and 
Swift we find others who give the street a distinctly 
literary air. For instance, Tom Moore was here on various 
occasions : in 1805, at No. 27 (numbered later 28), whence 
he dedicated his Odes and Epistles to Lord Moira; and, 
again, in 1810, where the advertisement to the fourth 
number of his Irish Melodies was dated and whither he 
brought his young wife in the following year ; in 1814 he 
was at No. 33 ; ten years later at No. 24 ; and in 1830 at 
No. 19. He seems to have been at the last house before, as 
writing to Power, he remarks : "I would not go to him [the 
landlord] but for my hatred of strange places and faces." 

With reference to the first-named house we have the 
following interesting note in Moore's diary for 19th 
February 1828 : 

"Went with Keppel to his lodgings, 28 Bury Street 
(formerly 27), for the purpose of seeing the rooms where 
he lives (second floor) which were my abode off and on for 
ten or twelve years. The sight brought back old times ; 
it was there I wrote my Odes and Epistles from America, 
and in the parlour Strangford wrote most of his Camoens. 
In that second floor I had an illness of eight weeks, of 
which I was near dying, and in that shabby little second 
floor, when I was slowly recovering, the beautiful Duchess 
of St Albans (Miss Mellon) to my surprise one day paid 
me a visit." 

E 65 


The Keppcl spoken of was Major Keppel, a son of Lord 
Albemarle. A new building has long replaced the house 
where Moore carolled and Lord Strangford made known 
to English readers the beauties of the unfortunate 

Another poet who once lodged here was Crabbe who, 
writing in his journal for 28th June 1817, notes seeking 
lodgings at No. 37 Bury Street on that day. Only females 
were visible and he found his new abode " a little mysteri- 
ous," and was at a loss to know "whether my damsel is 
extremely simple, or too knowing." The house in which 
he occupied rooms was, at a later date, turned into an 
hotel, in which capacity it was existing in 1885. l 

It was here, by the by, that the Hon. W. Spencer, 
about whom Lamb has that good story, and who wrote 
Beth Gelert and translated Lenore, lived for a time in 1813. 

Another of Moore's lodgings was once occupied by a 
notable man, Daniel O'Connell staying at No. 19, what 
time the struggle for Catholic Emancipation was being 
fought out in 1829. I had almost written that G. F. 
Cooke, the actor, who was living in Bury Street in 1802, 
was the last famous inhabitant to be noticed, when I re- 
membered that a still more notable person, and one whose 
memory will last as long as any of those mentioned, once 
resided here. I mean the immortal Major Pendennis. 2 


Duke Street has an interest apart from the notable 
people with whom it is associated, for it was the first 

1 Hutton's Literary Landmarks of London. 

2 We must not forget that Soame Jenyns died in Bury Street, in 
1787, and that it was here, on one occasion, that Horace Walpole 
stood in the snow, with only slippers on, to watch a fire at five 
o'clock in the morning. He had come across from Arlington Street 
for that purpose. 


thoroughfare in London in which pavements were laid. 1 
The list of its better-known inhabitants is headed by that 
Sir Carr Scroope whom Rochester lashes in his poems, and 
who was living here at the north end of the east side of 
the street from 1679 to 1683. 3 He must have been one of 
the earliest residents, as the thoroughfare was probably 
formed not earlier than 1672. Just a hundred years after 
Scroope's departure we find Mrs Bellamy, the actress, 
writing to Dr Johnson from No. 10, asking for his patron- 
age to one of her benefits, as she was then "reduced to 
distress " through " a long chancery suit and a compli- 
cated train of unfortunate events." 3 

But a greater than Mrs Bellamy once gave distinction 
to Duke Street, for here Edmund Burke was lodging at 
No. 67, in 1790, and hence he dates letters to Sir Philip 
Francis. The Duke Street rooms were the last Burke 
occupied in London. 

There seems to be some doubt about the exact date of 
his residence here. In London Past and Present, which I 
have followed, the year is given as above, and the letters 
substantiate it. In Mr Wheatley's Round About Picca- 
dilly, however, Burke is stated to have lodged at No. 6 in 
1793, and at No. 25 in the following year ; while Old and 
New London gives the date of his residence as 1795. 

At an earlier period Sugden, the future Lord Chancellor 
of Ireland and England, was born in the house of his 
father, a barber, in Duke Street, on 12th February 1781. 
As Lord St Leonards he died so late as 1875, and his will 
was, it may be remembered, the subject of much litigation. 

Just as in the case of Bury Street, so in that of 
Duke Street, a literary flavour is discernible Campbell, 

1 A like claim has been made for York Street leading from 
St James's Square to Jermyn Street. It is probable that both 
streets were thus paved about the same time, as experiments. 

8 London Past and[Present. 

3 Boswell's Johnson. 

6 7 


Moore, and Marryat all having lived here. Campbell's 
lodgings were (in 1832) at No. 10, subsequently known as 
Sussex Chambers. At the time of the poet's residence 
here the house, in which he occupied an upper room, was 
the headquarters of the Polish Association, presided over 
by Lord Dudley Coutts Stuart. Here Campbell led a life 
that just suited him. " I am not," he writes, " dissatis- 
fied with my existence as it is now occupied." He break- 
fasted at nine and then went to his club till twelve. 
'* Then I sit down," he adds, "' to my own studies and, 
with many and also vexatious interruptions, do what I can 
till four. I then walk round the Park, and generally dine 
at six. Between nine and ten I return to chambers, read 
a book or write a letter, and go to bed before twelve." 

The house in which he lived, at a later date became the 
home of the Catholic Union of Great Britain. It was a 
fine mansion, with a notable staircase, ornamental ceilings 
and mahogany doors. Below were spacious vaults, which 
tradition carried on, by passage-way, under Pall Mall 
and the Park, to the Houses of Parliament. Tradition 
often did as much as engineering in a credulous age. 
Another story was that the house had once been occupied 
by that much-housed potentate, Oliver Cromwell. 

Two doors away (at No. 8) Captain Marryat was lodging 
from 1837 to 1839. The house still preserves much of the 
outward appearance it bore in the novelist's time, and its 
substantial, uncompromising front is redolent of the 
domestic town architecture of a century ago. Marryat 
was a Londoner born, but it has been rightly said of him 
that "no better painter of English sailor-life has sought 
the favour of the reading world since Smollett gave us 
Trunnion and Pipes." Although some of the better- 
remembef ed productions of his fertile pen appeared before 
he came to live in Duke Street, to his residence there may 
be traced Master-man Ready and Percival Keene, Joseph 



Rushbrooke and The Phantom Ship, while Snarley-yow 
was published in the year 1 he took up his residence here. 

The ubiquitous Tom Moore is traced as lodging at No. 15 
Duke Street in 1833. From his diary I find that the poet 
arrived here on the 6th of March and appears to have 
stayed till the 24th of May, when he left for Buckhill. 
While here he frequented Brooks 's, visited such old friends 
as Lord Lansdowne and Rogers, and had his boy out from 
the Charterhouse on various occasions, duly noted in his 

Among other past residents in Duke Street was William 
Jerrold, the naturalist, whose father was a newsvendor in 
the thoroughfare. The son was faithful to the spot, for 
he is recorded as dying, in 1861, in a house at the Duke 
Street corner of Ryder Street. It was, no doubt, while 
there that he was occupied with the preparation of those 
great works on birds and fishes with which his name is 
identified and which appeared during the years 1835-1843. 

As in the case of Bury Street, so here I make an end of 
the list with an immortal namely, that " innocent piece 
of dinner furniture that went upon easy castors, and was 
kept over a livery stable-yard in Duke Street, St James's," 
and whose name, as readers of Our Mutual Friend will 
not need reminding, was Twemlow. Here he underwent 
fearful doubts and misgivings as to whether or not he was 
really the oldest friend of those unspeakable Veneerings. 1 


In early days the western end of this thoroughfare that 
is, between Bury and St James's Streets was known as 
Little Rider Street, and it is so given in Rhodes 's plan of 
the parish, dated 1770. It was formed in 1674, and 

1 1 find that in 1748 a Colonel Russell, of the Coldstreams, was 
living in Duke Street (R. Hist. MSS. Commission). 

6 9 


received its name from that of a Captain Ryder, who had, 
in 1660, set up gates on the Parish Lammas Lands. 1 

In 1693 Thomas Dangan, brother of the Earl of 
Limerick, is given as residing "at his lodgings in Rider 
Street, near St James's." Not long after Swift was in 
rooms (apparently in 1712) which he describes as "over 
against the house in Little Ryder Street," where Mrs 
Dingley also lived. 

One of the Dean's letters, dated from Letcombe, near 
Wantage, in 1714, is addressed to "Mrs Esther Vanhom- 
righ, at her lodgings over against the Surgeon's in Great 
Ryder Street, near St James's." 

There must have been happy memories for this turbul- 
ent spirit in the Ryder Street abode, either of himself or 
Vanessa, for, at a later date (1722), when trying to raise 
his fair friend's spirits, he remarks, "remember . . . 
Rider Street." 2 

As this is the sum total of Ryder Street's history, it 
will be seen that it compares unfavourably in this respect 
with the neighbouring thoroughfares. 

Fox Court was a tiny cul-de-sac, slightly north of Ryder 
Street and divided from it by four houses, Nos. 26-29 
St James's Street, as shown in Horwood's plan. J. T. 
Smith mentions a certain Norman, a dog doctor, as having 
a house in this passage, and here lodged John Keyse 
Sherwin, in whose studio Smith served his apprenticeship. 
Miss Hawkins, in her entertaining Memoirs, complains 
that Sherwin was in the habit of firing pistols out of his 
window half the night, and she adds : " He half-drowned 
his pupils, for, sad to say, he had pupils in punch." Smith, 
who ought to have known, controverts this statement and 
takes occasion in doing so to say that he certainly was not 

1 Rate Books. 

2 London Past and Present. There is one club The Eccentric 
housed in Ryder Street. 



a pupil in this sense. With regard to Norman, Smith 
records an amusing dialogue between Mrs Norman and 
Mrs Nollekens, on the subject of one of the latter's dogs. 
It was in Sher win's studio that Smith met the beautiful 
Mrs Robinson the Perdita of George Prince of Wales 's 
Florizel and in his Book for a Rainy Day he tells how, as a 
young man, he received a kiss from her here. Here, too, 
he once saw Mrs Siddons sit " in an attitude of the highest 
dignity, in the character of the Grecian Daughter." l 


Jermyn Street took form rather earlier than did the 
other tributary thoroughfares on the east side of St 
James's Street, having been laid out about the year 1667. 
It was so named from Henry Jermyn, Earl of St Albans, 
who developed the surrounding property in the early years 
of Charles II. 's reign. In common with Charles Street, 
King Street, and St Albans Street (now Waterloo Place), it 
was one of the first thoroughfares completed north of Pall 
Mall, as a part of this building scheme. The portion 
between St James's Church and St James's Street was 
originally known as Little Jermyn Street, the rest of it as 
Great Jermyn Street. 

One of the earliest residents was Sir William Stanley, 
who in the year of the street's formation is rated at one 
pound (which he did not pay, by the by), as being in 
" Jarman Street, West End, North Side." This spelling 
of the name reminds me that its orthography always seems 
to have been a difficult matter. The ways (in spelling) 

1 See also his Nollekens and His Times, where, by the by, he 
mentions a certain Vevini, a figure maker, who was living in St 
James's Street, as producing "a fine mould of the Laocoon." 
When Smith wrote his book (1828), Vevini was in his eighty-ninth 
year, and was then styled the " Father of the Painters.' 1 He had 
been a pupil of Francis Hayman. 



of the old rate-collectors were proverbially weird and 
wonderful, so that in the Rate Books one naturally expects 
to find variants of all kinds, but even Shadwell, in his 
Virtuoso, published in 1676, sets it down as Germin, and 
Lord Arran calls it Jermain Street in 1681, while Sir John 
Banks addresses a letter to Jerman Street in 1690, and 
another correspondent, two years later, writes it German 
Street. 1 

Another early resident was Colonel Churchill (after- 
wards the great Duke of Marlborough), who occupied, 
from 1675 to 1681 a house at the west end, south side, 
about five doors down the thoroughfare. Lord Arran, 
writing to the Duke of Ormond on 28th January 1682, 
says : "I have this day removed to Col. Churchill's house 
in Jermain Street." Lady Arran was expecting the birth 
of a child, and her husband seems to have arranged for this 
residence with a view to that event. 2 About the same 
time the Duchess of Richmond (La Belle Stuart of De 
Grammont's Memoirs) was living on the north side of the 
Street (1681-1683), where she was succeeded in the tenancy 
(in 1684) by the Countess of Northumberland. Next door 
to this house Henry Saville, the friend of Lord Rochester, 
was residing for a period exactly equalling that of the 
Duchess of Richmond. Three doors off was Simon 
Verelst, the painter, of whose vanity Walpole has left us 
several anecdotes. To this house Sir William Soames 
came to live in 1684. Sir William hangs on to the skirts 
of fame as having once produced a poem on the Art of 
Poetry, which was revised by no less a person than Dryden. 

1 In the autobiography of Dr George Clarke, among the Ley- 
bourne-Popham MSS., I find the following reference to the street : 

" I was put to school at one Mr Gordon, a Scotsman who lived in 
what is since called Jermyn Street." 

Clarke was born in 1661, and stayed at Gordon's school till 
somewhat over ten years of age. 

a Hist. MSS. Commission. 



Another fashionable resident was the Earl of Westmor- 
land, who is found writing to the Duke of Albemarle, on 
28th November 1681 , from Jermyn Street. Some years later 
Sir George Rooke dates a letter (25th May 1695) to Lord 
Shrewsbury from here, and in 1692 an anonymous corre- 
spondent of Sir Joseph Williamson directs the letter to "his 
house in German Street," as does Sir John Banks two years 
earlier, although he spells it differently, thus: "Jerman 
Streete." Williamson was still in the street in 1696, as 
letters to him there testify, and in this year one George 
Stokefield writes to Madame Higgins "at Mr Greenvill's 
in Jermyn Street, at the Two Blue Pyramids," an unusual 
sign which has eluded the vigilance of Larwood and Hatton. 

A year later Sir Isaac Newton was living in a house near 
St James's Church, and remained there till 1709. He 
appears, however, to have lodged in the street at an earlier 
date, for a letter written by Flamsteed and dated 2nd 
January 1689, is addressed to "Mr Izaak Newton, at his 
house in German Street, near St James's." Two years 
after Newton had left, Lady Grendison came to live in 
Jermyn Street, and the letter (from Miss E. Pitt to her 
sister, the Hon. Mrs Pitt) giving this information tells us 
of the presence here of another fashionable lady. "The 
house," she writes, "that is taken for my Lady Grendison 
is in Jermyn Street amost opeset to Lady Barrymore's. 
I would have gone to see it but have had no coacth to go 
anywhere." 1 

A better-remembered resident was, however, Mr 
Secretary Craggs, who died here in 1720, so suddenly and 
mysteriously, on the very day when the report incrimin- 
ating him with complicity in the South Sea Bubble, was 
read in the House of Commons. Pope's eulogistic and 
friendly epitaph in Westminster Abbey can hardly be 
regarded as impartially stating the case for Craggs. 
1 Fortescue MSS. 


A still more famous contemporary, in the person of 
Bishop Berkeley, was lodging here in 1725, as we find 
from the fact that he desires his correspondent to address 
him at "Mr Bindon's, at the Golden Globe in Jermyn's 
Street, near Piccadilly." Another resident (in 1737) was 
the Dowager Duchess of Portland, who died at her house 
here. 1 

Lord Carteret was staying in Jermyn Street in June 
1734, as is proved by a letter he wrote at this time to the 
Earl of March ; and just as he represents the political 
world in the street, so the poets Gray and Shenstone give 
it a poetical flavour. Gray was here in lodgings at the end 
of 1753. On the 5th November of that year he writes to 
Mason, asking him to look out for a lodging in Jermyn 
Street, but that he won't give " more than half a guinea a 
week for it, nor put up with a second floor, unless it has 
a tolerable room to the street." The apartments were 
found at Robert's the hosier, or Frisby's the oilman, in 
Jermyn Street, both of which were situated at the east 
end of the street, though on different sides of the way. 
Gray used generally to take his dinner alone, it being sent 
in to his lodgings from a neighbouring eating-house. 

Shenstone, when he could tear himself away from his 
beloved "Leasowes," used, in London, to occupy lodgings 
here ; and here Dr Hunter began the formation of his 
remarkable museum, which was eventually housed in 
Windmill Street. His "residence here" extended from 
1750 to 1768, and on his leaving the Jermyn Street house 
his brother, John Hunter, came to live in it till 1783, 
when he removed to Leicester Square. 

Besides those I have mentioned other great and notable 

people are identified with Jermyn Street : the Hon. 

Charles Townshend writes to Lord Townshend from here 

in 1748; Sir George Baker addresses letters hence in 

1 Mrs Delany's Autobiography, vol. i., p. 597. 



1764-1765 ; Sir George Rooke writes to Mr Burchett in 
1705 from Jermyn Street ; the elder Pitt was here in 1762, 
having removed in that year from St James's Square, and 
here had the meeting with Bute concerning a coalition 
ministry to succeed the Grenville administration ; here 
Sydney Smith lodged at No. 81 in 1811, and Tom Moore 
at No. 58 in 1825. Sir Thomas Lawrence lodged at No. 42 
in 1790, at which house he was succeeded by Sir Martin 
Shee, who lived here till 1796. Lesser names are those of 
Sir John Irvine, who is found dating letters from Jermyn 
Street in 1777 and 1780 ; Richardson Pack, who writes to 
Matthew Prior from here in 1719 ; Lord Kensington in 
1781, and Governor Hamilton in the same year. In 1820 
E. H. Locker asks permission, in a letter bearing the 
Jermyn Street address, of Lord Dartmouth to publish 
certain letters of George III.'s; and here, in 1832, Mr 
Gladstone, on his first entering Parliament, took rooms 
over the shop of a corn chandler named Crampern (a 
relative of one of his Newark constituents), a few doors 
west from York Street, as he once told Mr Dasent. 1 

In a list of " Persons who Paid Tax on Male Servants in 
1780 " the names of Sir George Baker and the Hon. Mrs 
Cooper appear as residents in Jermyn Street. 

Jermyn Street has always been a street of hotels, not 
of those vast caravanserai which have sprung up in other 
parts of London, but of those smaller " family " resting- 
places which seem to be redolent of the earlier years of 
last century. There was, for instance, the Gun Tavern, 
kept by Rouelle (afterwards an active member of the 
French National Assembly), a great haunt of foreigners, 
whose patronage it shared with Grenier's Hotel 2 close by. 

1 See History of St James's Square. 

3 Lord Auckland writing to Lord Grenville, on 7th July 1793, 
mentions a Mr Crawford -' who lodges at Conest's Hotel, in Jermyn 



Of Grenier's Mr Storey, writing to Lord Auckland, on 24th 
September 1789, remarks : " Saintefoy has been out of 
town for these few days, but I believe he is shortly to 
return to Grenier's Hotel, in Jermyn Street, the grand 
resort of the illustrious fugitives from France, where, 
amongst others, is Madame de Boufflers and the Countess 
Emilie." One likes to think that it was from here that 
Madame de Boufflers set out on her famous visit to Dr 
Johnson in the Temple. There are plenty of hotels in 
Jermyn Street to-day, 1 but the place of one is now a 
Turkish Baths and the Hammam Chambers, and this one 
was the most famous of them all, for here, in July 1832, 
Scott came on his return from the Continent a dying man, 
and here he lay, half dreaming and half dead, for three 
weeks before being carried, on his last sad journey, to his 
own home beside the rippling Tweed. 

The Museum of Practical Geology, whose other front 
looks so strange in shop-lined Piccadilly, is in this street, 
and is, indeed, sometimes known as " The Jermyn Street 
Museum " ; and also here is St James's Church, or, rather, 
that part of it that cannot be said to be in Piccadilly. 

Erected by Lord St Albans in 1680 it owes much to the 
combined genius of Wren and Grinling Gibbons. Its organ 
once belonged to James II. ; three of its rectors have 
become Archbishops of Canterbury : Tenison, Wake, and 
Seeker. Here the Princess Anne used to attend divine 
service when living at Berkeley House, and Defoe, who 
was scandalised at the charges made for a seat, "where 
it costs one almost as dear as to see a play, "according to 
Mackay who, however, remarks on the "fine assembly 

1 A quarter of a century ago there were Rawlings* at Nos. 37-38 ; 
The Brunswick at Nos. 52-53 ; Cox's at No. 55 ; the Cavendish at 
No. 8 1 ; the British at Nos. 82-83 ; the Waterloo at Nos. 85-86 ; 
some of which survive. Jules is here, too, and the ubiquitous 
Lyons ! 

7 6 


of beauties and quality " that came there, including my 
Lord Foppington. The churchyard (where Gibbon once 
stumbled and sprained his foot) as well as the church is 
full of illustrious dead. Cotton, the friend and collabora- 
tor of Izaak Walton, lies here, and Tom D'Urfey, whose 
4 pills to purge melancholy ' formed a prescription that 
many partook of; Van der Velde, the royal marine 
painter, and Dahl and Hayman, once fashionable portrait 
painters, and Harlowe, famous for his historical scenes. 
Mrs Delany, who lived and died in St James's Place, is 
buried here, and Akenside, who expired in Old Burlington 
Street ; Dodsley was carried hither from 51 Pall Mall, and 
Gillray from 29 St James's Street ; while that awful 
" Old Q " rests within the sound of the Piccadilly of 
which he was once the most notorious resident. At the 
beautiful font, which the art of Gibbons adorned, the 
great Chatham and the exquisite Chesterfield had been 

As one takes leave of Jermyn Street, with its pleasant 
trees shading the churchyard, one remembers the curious 
story (told by Dr William King and retold by Mr W T hitten) 1 
of the eccentric Mr Home, who, one day in the year 1706, 
disappeared from his wife and family here and remained 
securely hidden no farther off than Westminster for seven- 
teen years ; after which he returned and apparently lived 
happily ever after. The story only proves what anyone 
(not wanted by the police) knows viz. that London is 
the easiest place in the world to hide oneself in, but it 
seems also to indicate a kink in Mr Home. 

1 Anecdotes of his Own Time and A Londoner's London. 





THE first turning we come to in descending St James's 
Street on the west side is Bennet Street. It takes its name 
from Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, one of the Cabal 
ministry, who owned the ground on which it was formed in 
1679. It is a small street and serves chiefly as a means of 
communication between St James's Street and Arlington 
Street. Yet it has its memories, for Byron, "Leonidas " 
Glover, and Zoffany, the painter, have all lived in it. 1 

Zoffany was here (on his return from India) from 1795 
to 1796, and by the Rate Books I find he paid forty pounds 
rent. The house was empty during the quarter from 
Christmas to Lady Day, after which the painter apparently 
gave it up. He probably took it on a yearly tenancy. 

When exactly Glover was living in Bennet Street I 
cannot trace. He doubtless occupied lodgings, so the 
Rate Books are no guide. His residence is said to have 
been at No. 9, at the north-west corner of St James's 
Street, where Messrs Hoopers' premises are now. As he 
died in Albemarle Street in 1785 it is probable that he 
went there from his Bennet Street lodging. Glover is 
so absolutely the man of one book that the title of it is 

1 In 1722 a Mr Wild was living there, and on igth October of 
that year a letter was addressed " to Mr Fiord at Mr Wild's in 
Bennet Street." It was one of the communications of Jacobites 
concerned in Layer's conspiracy. 

7 8 


invariably appended to his name Leonidas Glover 
although he produced other poems, such as his London, in 
1739 ; his Boadicea, in 1753 ; and a stupendous AtJienaid 
in thirty books, brought out posthumously, in 1787, by his 

Byron's residence in Bennet Street was of an equally 
short duration, for we find him living at No. 4, between 
1813 and 1814. At that time a Miss Bayfield is given in 
the Rate Books as occupying the house, and it was with 
her, no doubt, that Byron lodged. At this period the 
poet was composing The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, and 
The Corsair, parts of which were probably written in the 
little house in what Byron used sometimes playfully to 
call Benedictine Street. 1 

From the poet's journal it would appear that he 
remained in Bennet Street till 28th March 1814, when 
he records taking possession of his new apartments in 
Albany. 2 He had first gone to No. 4 in April 1813, appar- 
ently, as a letter from him to Murray, dated the 21st of 
that month, mentions that he " shall be in town by Sunday 
next," and asks his publisher to "send in my account to 
Bennet Street." We are thus able, approximately, to 
trace Byron's residence here from April 1813 to March 

The associations of Bennet Street are few though inter- 
esting ; those of Arlington Street are as interesting and far 
more numerous. 

Arlington Street was formed in 1689, on ground which 
had been granted to Lord Arlington by Charles II. eight 
years earlier. Arlington, on becoming possessed of the 

1 A letter to Moore, 8th July 1813, is so headed. 

2 See Moore's Life of Byron. 



property, almost immediately sold it to a Mr Pym who 
proceeded to develop it, and for long inhabited one of the 
larger houses erected in the street. The process of build- 
ing was carefully watched by Sir Dudley North who, 
according to his brother Roger's testimony, took special 
interest in viewing the development of London. "Wher- 
ever there was a parcel of building going on he went to 
survey it, and particularly the high buildings in Arlington 
Street, which were scarce covered in before all the windows 
were wry-mouthed, fascias turned SS, and divers stacks 
of chimnies sunk right down, drawing roof and floors with 
them ; and the point was to find out whence all this decay 
proceeded." 1 Roger North adds that: "We (evidently 
he was his brother's companion on many of these inquir- 
ing rambles) had conversed so much with new houses 
that we were almost turned rope-dancers and walked as 
familiarly upon joists in garrets, having a view through 
all the floors, down to the cellar, as if it had been plain 
ground." It does not appear that the Norths satis- 
factorily found out the cause of the subsidence in Arlington 
Street. Whatever it was, it was, no doubt, rectified, as 
the houses were almost immediately taken, and by persons 
described in the manner of the period as "of the first 
quality." For instance, the Duchess of Cleveland, find- 
ing after Charles II. 's death that the upkeep of Berkshire 
House was too heavy a drain on her purse, took a house 
here and lived in it for five years (1691-1696). The year 
after she had come into residence she had as a neighbour 
the Duchess of Buckingham, widow of the second Duke 
and daughter of Fairfax, the great Parliamentary general, 
whose frivolities and eccentricities have been perpetuated 
by Dryden in a famous passage. She remained here but 
two years, and then the "little, round, crumpled woman, 
very fond of finery," as Bishop Percy describes her, went 
1 Lives of the Norths, vol. iii., p. 210. 


elsewhere till her death in 1705, just four years before her 
one-time neighbour, the Duchess of Cleveland, expired at 
Chiswick. Another distinguished resident in Arlington 
Street was the Marquis of Dorchester, better known as 
the Duke of Kingston, and best remembered as the father 
of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. The Taller (for 5th 
August 1710) contains an advertisement indirectly re- 
ferring to Lord Dorchester's house, as follows: "In 
Arlington Street, next door to the Marquis of Dorchester, 
is a large house to be let, with a garden and door into the 

About this time Hatton * describes the thoroughfare as 
being very graceful and pleasant, with excellent houses 
inhabited by nobility and gentry, running parallel with 
St James's Street, out of Portugal Street by which name 
this end of Piccadilly was still known. 

Not only was Arlington Street then "well inhabited," 
as Strype is fond of phrasing it, but it continued to be 
and, as we all know, still is. In 1698 Lords Brook, 
Cholmondeley, Guildford, Kingston and Peterborough 
were all residing here ; a year earlier Lord Monmouth 
was here, and Lord Dartmouth appears to have been one 
of the earliest residents in 1691. A reference to Lord 
Monmouth 's house is contained in a letter dated 28th April 
1697, from its owner to Ulysses Browne, relative to an 
assault on the Earl at Chelsea by Browne and others. 8 
Lord Dartmouth was inhabiting what were then termed 
Arlington Buildings, a kind of forerunner of the modern 
flats, I presume. In the Dartmouth MSS. I find Lord 
Dartmouth complaining of his house in Arlington Street 
being searched and his papers examined and impounded, 
in 1691. He came up from the country with a Mr Ryley, 
who was to make the inquisition which appears to have 

1 New View of London, 1708. 
8 Buccleuch MSS. 

F 8l 


been a very thorough one. The later history of Dart- 
mouth's undoubted disloyalty to William III. is well 
known ; he had plotted with James II. and was caught 
and thrown into the Tower, where he died of apoplexy. 1 

The peers mentioned above as living in Arlington Street 
in 1698, were all there ten years later, with the exception 
of Lord Peterborough, and, in addition, the Duke of 
Richmond, one of Charles II. 's sons, had come to live 
there. He, together with Lord Cholmondeley and Lord 
Guildford, were still residing there in 1724. The Duke of 
Kingston's house (to anticipate dates a little) remained in 
his family till 1770, when it was sold by the 2nd Duke 
for nearly 17,000. 

In 1711 the Earl of Stair was living here, and three years 
later Lord Clarendon is found dating letters from his house 
in Arlington Street, and in the same year Baron Bothmer 
writes to Lord Dartmouth from here. But greater than 
these have shed lustre on the street. Pulteney, Earl of 
Bath, who occupied a house on the west side, from 1715 
till he went to the larger mansion (now Bath House) in 
Piccadilly ; and, a year later, Sir Robert Walpole, who 
came to reside next door and remained there till 1742, 
when he went over the way to No. 5. In the former of 
these dwellings Horace Walpole was born in 1717. It 
was on the ministerial side of the street, and only when 
Sir Robert went out of office did he retire to the "non- 
ministerial " side. 2 In the smaller house he died in 1746, 
leaving the property to Horace, who continued to make 
it his London headquarters till his removal to Berkeley 
Square in 1779. Horace Walpole's letters are full of 
allusions to No. 5 Arlington Street. From one of them 

1 See Macaulay's History, vol. iv., pp. 20-23. 

2 In 1749 Sir William Codrington, M.P. for Beverley ; John Pitt, 
Esq., M.P. for Wareham ; and C. H. Walpole, Esq., M.P. for 
Callington, were among Arlington Street residents. 



(to Mann, dated 6th January 1743) it appears that No. 5 
had belonged for some time to Sir Robert, who had let it 
probably with a view to living there when he should have 
given up the reins of Government. From another letter 
(to Montagu, 1st December 1768) we find the street well 
keeping up its aristocratic character : 

"Nothing can bqfcmore dignified than this position," 
complacently remarks Horace. "From my earliest 
memory Arlington Street has been the ministerial street. 
The Duke of Grafton is actually coming into the house 
of Mr Pelham, which my Lord President is quitting, and 
which occupies, too, the ground on which my father lived ; 
and Lord Weymouth has just taken the Duke of Dorset's : 
yet you and I, I doubt, shall always be on the wrong side 
of the wav." 


In later days Sir Robert Walpole's second Arlington 
Street house became the London residence of Edward 
Ellice, Esq., M.P., and then of Sir R. G. Phillimore. On 
its front a tablet informs the passer-by that here once lived 
one of England's greatest Prime Ministers. 

There seems to have been an idea of George Montagu's 
coming to the house next door but one to No. 5, for Horace 
Walpole writes to him (in the letter already quoted from) 
thus : 

"I like your letter, and have been looking at my 
next door but one. The ground story is built, and the 
side walls will certainly be raised another floor before you 
think of arriving. I fear nothing for you but the noise of 
workmen, and of this street in front, and Piccadilly on the 
other side. If you can bear such a constant hammering 
and hurricane, it will rejoice me to have you so near me ; 
and then I think I must see you oftener than I have done 
these ten years." 

In the last house in the street on the Green Park side 
John, Lord Carteret, afterwards Earl Granville, lived. 



He writes from here to Swift in 1724, and again in 1737, 1 
and just ten years later he rebuilt the house. Mrs 
Pendarves tells Ann Granville, afterwards Mrs Delany, 
in August 1732, that : "Lady Carteret writes me word 
that she has bought the ground her house stood on in 
Arlington Street, and that my lord designs to build there." 
At a later period Lord Gage occupied this residence. Ten 
years later we find Mrs Pendarves informing Mrs Dewes 
that she dined at Lord Granville 's on two consecutive 

Another resident, of whom we get a glimpse in Mrs 
Delany 's Autobiography, was Lady Weymouth, who was 
then (1769) busy moving from Pall Mall to the Duke of 
Dorset's old house in Arlington Street, 2 a piece of infor- 
mation already supplied us by Horace Walpole. 

Pelham's house afterwards became the property of 
Lady Pomfret. It had been rebuilt, 3 in the pseudo-Gothic 
manner beloved of Walpole, by Kent, and is still a curious 
feature and not a very congruous one in a street that was 
never architecturally of much note. Later, W. Gerard 
Hamilton (Single-Speech Hamilton) occupied it, and letters 
from him dated from here in 1767 and 1772 are extant. 
In his time an accident occurred here, thus referred to by 
Walpole : " One of the Gothic towers of Lady Pomfret 's 
house (now Single-Speech Hamilton's) in my street, fell 
through the roof, and not a thought of it remains. " Later 
the house (No. 17) passed into the hands of the Earl of 
Yarborough, whose family still occupies it. 

1 Mrs Delany 's Autobiography, vol. i., p. 599. 

2 Mrs Delany to Lord Andover, 7th January 1769. In the List 
of Persons Paying Taxes for Male Servants in 1780, Lord Aylesford 
is given as paying for seventy-one (sic) and Mrs Clive for four, in 
Arlington Street. 

3 It had been rebuilt by Kent before Pelham came to live in it. 
Letters of Pelham to Viscount Irwin, dated 1745, and from the 
Duke of Grafton to the same in 1770, are headed Arlington Street. 



The house next door, No. 18, was at one time the 
residence of Sir John Fender, Bart., M.P., who here 
collected a fine gallery of pictures, chiefly of the modern 
school. In 1906 the place was in possession of Sir 
Alexander Henderson, Bart., M.P. No. 19 is the town 
residence of the Marquis of Zetland, and No. 20 that of 
the Marquis of Salisbury. The present house is a rebuilt 
structure on the site of the former residence owned by 
the Cecil family, its reconstruction having been carried out 
about 1870. In the former house, in April 1786, George 
III., with other members of the Royal family, attended 
the christening of the daughter of the 1st Marquis of 
Salisbury, a child who eventually became Lady Cowley. 
Lady Salisbury of those days was a redoubtable leader of 
fashion and was known to her intimates as " Old Sarum." 
She is referred to in The New Monthly Magazine for 1821, 
where the writer remarks : " The man of fashion . . . 
lounges at the subscription house and votes Sunday a 
complete bore until it is time to drop in at the Marchioness 
in Arlington Street." Creevey, in 1821, calls her, not 
without reason, "the head and ornament and patroness 
of the beau monde of London for the last forty years. " In 
Raikes' Journal and the innumerable memoirs and diaries 
of the period, the name of Lady Salisbury is of almost 
as frequent recurrence as that of Lady Jersey. The 
Marchioness, it will be remembered, was burnt to death 
at Hatfield in 1834. At No. 21, once the residence of 
M. Van der Weyer, the Belgian minister, and for long that 
of his son and daughter-in-law, Victor W. Van der Weyer 
and Lady Emily Van der Weyer, Lord Sefton "The 
pet," as Creevey terms him used to give those famous 
dinners, produced under the superintendence of Ude, 
at which most of the great ones of the time were guests. 
Lord Sefton, that gigantic humpback, as Gronow calls 
him, was not only a gourmet but a confirmed gambler, 



and towards the close of his life became a great liabitue 
of the neighbouring Crockford's. He was, besides, a fine 
whip and was a power in the original Four-in-Hand Club 
in the days of the Regent. 

No. 22, now known as Wimborne House, is the resi- 
dence of the present (2nd) Lord Wimborne, whose father 
purchased it in 1867, while he was still Sir Ivor Guest. 
Originally it was the property of the Marquis Camden, 
son of the great judge, who died in 1840. l After him 
came the 7th Duke of Beaufort, who, as Lord Worcester, 
had been aide-de-camp to Wellington in the Peninsular 
War and after Vittoria had nearly succeeded in capturing 
Joseph Bonaparte as he fled from the field. He re- 
christened the house after his own name and reconstructed 
it, employing Owen Jones and Q. Latella to superintend 
its decoration. In 1852, however, a year before his death, 
he sold the house to the llth Duke of Hamilton, the price 
paid being, it is said, 60,000. The latter in turn ex- 
pended large sums on the mansion, in which evidences of 
his ownership may still be seen in some of the iron fire- 
backs which bear his coronet and the famous Hamilton 
motto : "Thorough." The Duke died in July 1863, and 
his widow, who had been Princess Marie of Baden, on the 
question of whose precedence in this country, she not 
being allied to one of royal birth, some interesting refer- 
ences will be found in Queen Victoria's letters, continued 
to reside here for a time. 2 

At the further end of Arlington Street is No. 16, the 
last house on that side facing the Park, now the residence 
of the Duke of Rutland. It formerly belonged to Lord 
Gage, and here, in 1827, while occupied by a former duke, 

1 A letter from him to Lord Lowther is dated 24th January 1806 
from here. 

2 See for a fuller account of the house and its contents, the 
author's Private Palaces of London. 



occurred the death oi' the Duke of York, to whom the 
house had been lent in the previous year. 

Between the occupancy of the house by the former 
Duke of Rutland and the present holder of the title (who 
acquired it in 1897, when still Marquis of Granby) it was 
tenanted by Lord Dudley, and was at one time the property 
of Colonel John Sidney North, from whom it passed to 
Lord North. 

In the Park then known as Upper St James's Park 
behind this house was fought the duel between Pulteney 
and Lord Hervey, on 25th January 1731, as recorded by 
Thomas Pelham in a letter to Lord Waldegrave. It has 
been stated that the encounter actually took place in 
the garden of No. 16, but this statement has not been 

Returning to the smaller houses opposite, and it is an 
interesting fact to remember that there is no record of 
the numbers ever having been changed, we find that at 
No. 6 once lived Lord Melville, First Lord of the Admiralty, 
and friend of Pitt, and that appropriately in another 
close by (the actual number of which is, unfortunately, 
not ascertainable) Nelson lodged during the winter of 
1800-1801. Mr Haslewood, one of Nelson's executors, 
in a communication to Sir Harris Nicolas, described the 
following scene as having taken place here : 

"In the winter of 1800-1801 (Jan. 13th), I was break- 
fasting with Lord and Lady Nelson, at their lodgings 
in Arlington Street and a cheerful conversation was pass- 
ing on indifferent subjects, when Lord Nelson spoke of 
something which had been done or said by 'dear Lady 
Hamilton,' upon which Lady Nelson rose from her chair 
and exclaimed with much vehemence : ' I am sick of 
hearing of dear Lady Hamilton and am resolved that you 
shall give up either her or me. ' Lord Nelson, with perfect 



calmness, said : ' Take care, Fanny, what you say ; I 
love you sincerely, but I cannot forget my obligations to 
Lady Hamilton or speak of her otherwise than with 
affection and admiration.' Without one soothing word 
or gesture, but muttering something about her mind 
being made up, Lady Nelson left the room and shortly 
after drove from the house. They never lived together 

At No. 14 lived and died General Fitzpatrick, the friend 
of Fox, Sheridan (with whom he was concerned in some of 
those practical jokes beloved by Sherry), and the wits of 
that day. Fitzpatrick was a wit and a man of pleasure 
himself, and many are the references to him in these 
capacities, in Rogers 's Table Talk. One entry in that 
amusing collection tells how Fitzpatrick remembered 
the time "when St James's Street used to be crowded 
with the carriages of the ladies and gentlemen who were 
walking in the Mall the ladies with their heads in full 
dress and the gentlemen carrying their hats under their 
arms." Another records how one day, immediately pre- 
ceding Fitzpatrick's death, Rogers walked to his house in 
Arlington Street to inquire after him, and just as he 
reached the door Fox came out, sobbing violently. 

This anecdote brings me to Fox's own one-time residence 
here, which commenced in April 1804. The Opposition 
Campaign in conjunction with the Grenvilles had opened 
against the Addington Ministry, and Fox came to town 
to direct affairs, his Arlington Street residence (No. 9) 1 
becoming the centre of political activity. He retained 
the house for two years, although he retired to the charms 
of St Anne's Hill as often as possible. Rogers relates how, 
on one occasion, he dined with Mr and Mrs Fox here and 
afterwards went with them to see young Betty, "the 
1 A tablet indicates Fox's residence here. 


infant Roscius," act Hamlet, and how Fox surprised him 
during the performance by exclaiming: "This is finer 
than Garrick." On his vacating his seat in Parlia- 
ment Fox's address to his constituents was dated from 
Arlington Street on 8th February 1806, but he evidently 
soon afterwards gave up the place, for when his death 
occurred in the following September his body was removed, 
we are told, from Chiswick " to the house recently occupied 
by him in the stable-yard, St James's." 

Among other past residents in Arlington Street were 
David Mallet, who was living here from 1746 to 1747, and 
the 2nd Earl of Chatham ; while to come to later days, 
John Motley, who was for a time at No. 17, and Prosper 
Merimee, who was staying in 1860, at No. 18. 

It will be seen that Horace Walpole's boast of the 
street's political significance is well substantiated ; its 
fashionable character is equally prominent, and the out- 
look from the windows of the houses on the Park side 
fully confirms what the writer of the New Review of the 
Public Buildings of London says of it in the reign of George 
II., when he describes it as "one of the most beautiful 
situations in Europe for health, convenience and beauty, 
and combining together the advantages of town and 
country." The "want of uniformity" in its houses, 
which he notes, is to-day further enhanced by the tower- 
ing structure of the Ritz Hotel, which dwarfs the 
adjacent buildings even more than did its predecessor, 
Walsingham House. 

In these days of rebuilding it is probable that further 
alterations will come, so far as the elevations of the 
Arlington Street houses are concerned. When, and if, 
they do, one can only hope that No. 5, where the great 
Sir Robert lived, and his equally well-remembered son, 
Horace, so often gazed from the windows and noted the 
passing fashions, will be spared, not only to perpetuate 



their memory, but to recall what this side of the street 
looked like in earlier Georgian days. 


A little way down St James's Street from Bennet Street 
is Park Place. It was formed in 1683, and in the 
Act for creating the parish of St James's (1 James II., 
cap. 22) it is spoken of as a new street. A curious 
fact about the thoroughfare is that its north side is in 
the parish of St George's and its south in that of 
St James's. 

The earliest inhabitants I can trace from the Rate 
Books were Mr John Pulteney, who was paying 1, 8s. ; 
Lord Clifford, who was paying 2, and Lord Brouncker 
(given as Lord Brounkhard), who was rated at 2, 10s. 
All these were living here in 1683, so they must have 
taken houses directly they were finished. 

In the following year Lord Brouncker (this time the 
name is spelt correctly) is given, with the addition of "or 
tenant," in St James's Street, and is rated at 1, 10s. Of 
these John Pulteney, no doubt one of the family so long 
associated, as we have seen, with St James's Street, was 
in 1707 made one of the commissioners of trade in the 
place of a Mr Pryor. 1 Of Lord Clifford, previously Sir 
Thomas, at one time Lord Treasurer of the Household, the 
reader will find abundant details in the pages of Evelyn 
and Pepys, the former of whom records his leanings to- 
wards Papacy and his unhappy death by his own hand. 
He was the ; ' C " in the notorious Cabal ministry and a 
person of importance in the days of the Merry Monarch. 
Lord Brouncker is as well known in a different direction, 
for he was first President of the Royal Society, in which 
connection he was much in the company of Evelyn who 
1 Narcissus LuttrelTs Diary. 


may, or one likes to think so, have visited him in his house 
in Park Place. 

Another early resident here was Lady Orrery, and in 
1685 I find, in addition, Colonel Fitzpatrick and Lord 
Burlington. Two years later the Earl of Carberry is given 
as residing here. 1 He was also a President of the Royal 
Society during his residence here. Before succeeding to 
the earldom he was known as Lord Vaughan, in which 
capacity he was a violent enemy of Clarendon and, accord- 
ing to Pepys, "one of the lewdest fellows of the age, worse 
than Sir Charles Sedley." 

In the Rate Books for 1698 the following are the names 
of the principal residents in Park Place : Lady Tanker- 
ville, the Earl of Orkney, the Duchess of Cleveland and 
the Marchioness of Halifax. Three years earlier quite a 
different set of names appear ; they include Lady Mary 
Gray, Lord William Poulett, Colonel Pizza, Colonel John 
Fitzpatrick, Francis Thatcher, Esq., and Hophman, 

So much later as 1765 Sir George Baker is found writing 
from Jermyn Street to Edward Weston and saying : "I 
am desired to ask you, on behalf of Lady Middleton, 
whether you will let your house (in Park Place) on a lease 
of 12 years. Her Ladyship cannot afford to buy it ; but 
would be glad to take it on the terms mentioned above." 

Whether or not the negotiations were successful I am un- 
able to say ; certainly I have not come across the name of 
Lady Middleton as a tenant, so probably they fell through. 
The house seems to have been sought after, as in the 
previous December (1764) Lord Stanhope writes from 
St James's Street to Edward Weston in this strain con- 
cerning it: "Was my Brother in Town, I am sure he 
would desire me to return you his thanks for your CiviLcy 
in giving him the Preferance of your house in Park Place. 
1 At that time there were but eight houses in Park Place. 

9 1 


... In the Time of my ever to be regretted Friend, Mr 
Charles Stanhope, I should certainly have had it at any 
price, if I was so happy to have a Family to inhabit it, but 
it is much too large for a single man like me tho' I had it 
for nothing." 

To come to a still later period we find Lieutenant- 
General Gage writing to John Robinson from Park Place 
in 1776, and in 1785, according to the Rate Books, Sir 
William Musgrave and Admiral Pigot were living there. 
Sir William, who is remembered as a great print-collector, 
was residing at No. 9, and to a small house three doors 
off (No. 12) Pitt retired in 1801, after he resigned the 
Treasury. Apparently he was then very poorly off, for 
Jesse 1 remarks, apropos this residence, that, there, at any 
time he might awake to find himself without a chair in his 
drawing-room or a horse in his stables, for at any moment 
an execution might be put in the small house he had taken 

Another resident here for a time, but probably only in 
lodgings, was David Hume, who is recorded as living here 
in 1769. 2 In 1813 I find Lord Vernon, Colonel Gibson and 
Dr Paris among the street's inhabitants. Lord Vernon 's 
house was the large one at the end of Park Place, which 
at a later date became the property of Lord Redesdale. 
According to the account of Dr Paris, in The Gold-Headed 
Cane, he finally settled in London in 1817, which indicates 
that he had been there at least temporarily before then, 
and it was in Park Place that at this time he lived. He 
was a distinguished doctor in town for a number of years, 
and succeeded Halford in the Chair of the Royal College 
of Physicians. It was at a house in Park Place, whither 
she had retired, that Mrs Elizabeth Neale, the "Betty " 
of St James's Street, about whom I have more to say in 

1 Memoirs of George HI. 

2 The famous Coke of Norfolk was once residing at No. 14. 



another chapter, died on 30th August 1797, aged sixty- 
seven, just fourteen years after she had given up her 
active career as flower-woman and gossip in the larger 

A far less worthy person is connected with Park Place 
in the person of the notorious " Mother Needham," whom 
Hogarth has pilloried in Plate 1 of The Harlot's Progress, 
and Pope in The Dunciad. Two entries from contempor- 
ary news-sheets sufficiently indicate the " business " of 
this most undesirable resident. 

In Fog's Weekly Journal for 1st May 1731 we read: 
"The noted Mother Needham, convicted (April 20th, 1731) 
for keeping a disorderly house in Park Place, St James's, 
was fined Is., to stand twice in the Pillory viz. once in 
St James's Street over against the End of Park Place, 
and once in the New Palace Yard, Westminster, and to 
find sureties for her Good Behaviour for three years." 

The other entry carries on the information a step. It 
is from The Grub Street Journal, and reads thus : 
"Yesterday (May 6th, 1731) the noted Mother Needham 
stood in the Pillory in Park Place, 1 near St James's Street, 
and was roughly handled by the populace. She was so 
very ill that she lay along on her face, and so evaded the 
law which requires that her face should be exposed." 
Before she could undergo the second part of her sentence 
she died. The note to Pope's two lines about her in The 
Dunciad reads thus : 

" She was a matron of great fame, and very religious 
in her way ; whose constant prayer it was, that she might 
get enough by her profession to leave it off in time, and 
make her peace with God. This, however, was not 
granted to her, as she died from the effects of her exposure 
in the pillory." 

1 This shows us where the Pillory stood in St James's Street. 



As a set-off to such a resident it is interesting to record 
that in a dwelling near Vernon House, 1 the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts had its head- 
quarters, having removed from No. 79 Pall Mall about the 
year 1870. Four years later the Road Club was estab- 
lished at No. 4, so that the street may be said to have been, 
in the past, decidedly eclectic. 

Three other clubs are connected with Park Place. Of 
these Pratts' was founded about 1841 and occupies 
premises at No. 14. It is one of those clubs that delight 
in preserving the old features which obtained at the period 
of their inception, and in its arrangement, furniture and 
decoration carries out this principle admirably. The 
Primrose, occupying Nos. 4 and 5 Park Place, is, as its 
name suggests, of a political origin, although there is 
rather a social than a party air about it now. It was 
formed in 1885, the late Duke of Beaufort largely interest- 
ing himself in its success. The Pioneer, a ladies' club at 
No. 9, was inaugurated in 1892, and certainly I am not 
the one to draw aside the veil that hides its mysteries. 
The fact is I can't, as I know nothing about it ; beyond 
assuming that by its name it indicates those progressive 
theories which obtained among a certain section of the 
fairer sex, before more stern realities threw them into the 


Passing Stable Yard 2 (not to be confounded with the 
better-known place of that name within the precincts of 
the Palace where C. J. Fox once lived, at Godolphin 

1 The residence of the Dowager Lady Hillingdon. 

8 In 1685 it consisted of small tenements, the occupiers of which 
paid from ten shillings down to two shillings in rates. In 1695 
there were eight houses rated in it. 



House), known also as Blue Boar Yard, 1 under which 
title it appears in Rhodes' plan of 1770, and which it still 
bears, we come to what is in many respects the most 
interesting of the lesser streets which branch from the 
main thoroughfare. It appears to have been built later 
than most of them, the Rate Books indicating its forma- 
tion about 1694. The number of its interesting, often 
famous, inhabitants, and particularly the constellation of 
wit and power which gathered round the board or admired 
the works of art, of Samuel Rogers, combine in giving St 
James's Place an almost unique character. Indeed, with 
regard to the poet and his house, quite a little literature 
has grown up, and therefore when I come to speak of his 
residence, in this chapter, I shall simply state the fact, 
leaving for that part of the book in which I deal more 
particularly with the famous men and women of the past 
the record of the house and its contents and the notice of 
its benevolent but bitter-tongued owner. 

Among the earliest residents in St James's Place were 
Sidney, 1st Earl Godolphin, and his brother, Charles 
Godolphin, who must have been two of the first residents. 
In 1695 I find, by the Rate Books, that the following were 
also here : Colonel Venner, the Earl of Inchequin, the Earl 
of Nottingham, George Pitt, Madame Hennage (Heneage), 
Colonel Farrington, the Hon. John Smith, Sir Robert Rich, 
Sir Robert Terrell, Captain South and Molesworth, Esq. 
(spelt Moldsworth). Three years later Robert Molesworth, 
who afterwards became 1st Viscount Molesworth, addresses 
a letter to his wife " at her house in St James's Place." 

Another early resident was Thomas Coke, to whom 
Lieutenant R. Pope writes "at his house in (3) St James's 
Place," on 26th May 1696. With regard to this residence 
we have some interesting details in the Cowper MSS. It 

1 Stanford's large map of 1868 gives it as Blue Bell Yard, and it 
is so called to-day. 



would appear that Coke was making some additions to his 
property which did not commend themselves to his neigh- 
bours. The following letters from his clerk of the works, 
Edward Goudge, and Luke Barrow, apparently a care- 
taker, not only illustrate the difficulties Mr Coke had to 
contend with, but also incidentally indicate the people 
who were then living in St James's Place. Thomas Coke 
was, of course, the famous " Coke of Norfolk," afterwards 
1st Earl of Leicester, whom we have found staying in 
Park Place. The letters tell their own tale, so I give them 
as they appear in Earl Cowper's MSS., issued by the 
Historical Manuscripts' Commission : 

1698, June 28. Beaufort buildings. EDWARD GOUDGE 

to THOMAS COKE at Melbourne 

On Saturday the carpenters having put up good part of 
the frame of your building [in St James's Place] some of 
the neighbourhood seemed to be much offended at it, and 
yesterday Mr Stroud the bricklayer came to me from them 
to desire me to desist, otherwise they would run up a wall 
in the next garden to hinder your prospect. I told him 
you build out of necessity, not curiosity : and that we 
should have ten foot in our own ground to light us, not- 
withstanding his blind. However I condescended to the 
taking the carpenters from their work till I heard from 
you. In the meantime I will take as good advice as I can 
about it, but I cannot see what injury you can do your 
neighbours by your building, nor can I believe any man 
will be so mad as to lay out so much money as to build a 
wall before you to so little purpose. 

1698, July 9. London. JOHN COKE to THOMAS COKE at 

Mr Nicholas Harding informed me yesterday that your 
neighbours in St James's Place complain of those buildings 



which you are a going to make there. One Mrs Stroud is 
the most concerned : she says that the apartment which 
you are a going to make up will command her house and 
garden : she threatens that if you go on as you design, she 
will run up a wall 25 or 30 foot high, which will quite spoil 
that little prospect, which you have, and very much darken 
your rooms. ... Mr Harding told me he had desired 
Mrs Stroud not to do anything in this matter till she 
had made you acquainted how matters stand. Pray my 
humble service to Lady Mary and the rest of my friends 
and relations in Derbyshire. 

1698, July 19. Beauford Buildings. EDWARD GOUDGE 
to THOMAS COKE, at Breiby Manor, by Burton bagg 
I find the Lord Godolphin, Sir Robert Terrill, and 
Mr Charles Godolphin are your neighbours. At first Mr 
Stroud told me that they were the only persons disturbed, 
but since I hear nothing from anybody but Mr Charles 
Godolphin, I understand from the people I put into the 
house that all this disturbance is occasioned by his lady, 
who it seems cannot be satisfied till she sees your building 
down. Their builder came to tell me they would pull 
down our building on Monday. On Sunday I went and 
laughed at him for his news. He told me seriously that 
he had seen their lease, and they had so many foot of 
ground as reached the inside of our wall. . . . To prevent 
a law suit I have contented myself with the loss of about 
five inches, and taken the timber off the wall? and set it 
wholly on our own ground, for 10s. charge or less. . . . To 
do as much mischief as they can another way, here hath 
been one from your backside neighbour to let us know 
that the wall was wholly theirs. ... If you have not your 
lease, let me know where I can see it here in town, and 
who your lawyer is, that I may advise with him. My 
opinion is that they cannot hurt us, but that all this bustle 
G 97 


is to oblige the peevish proud temper of a woman. Mr 
Stroud told me that there was a contract between the 
builders that they should not make any addition above so 
many foot high. I shall keep the men at work, and desire 
a line or two. 

1698, July 23. Beauford Buildings. EDWARD GOUDGE 
to THOMAS COKE, at Bretby Manor, by Burton bagg 
I have had two meetings lately with an attorney who 
acts for the ground landlord on the back side of our build- 
ing, who says that the wall that our building stands upon 
next Madame LuttrelPs ground is theirs, and not our own 
as Mr Stroud, our ground landlord, told me it was. I, 
therefore, desire that somebody belonging to the law may 
be judges of their writings, which their attorney offers to 
show at any time. I answered that if they proved the 
wall to be theirs, Mr Coke would take the building off 
the wall and set it further into his own ground, and that 
whosoever employed him would miss of their aim for our 
building would go forward. I do not think that the re- 
moving the whole frame of our building will cost more 
than forty shillings. I am now well assured Mr Charles 
Godolphin's lady is the cause of all this trouble. 

1698, August 6. Beauford Buildings in the Strand. 
by Burton bagg 

. . . The attorney, who is employed by the ground 
landlord of the next ground, and I have had several meet- 
ings and I hope on Monday shall make a final determina- 
tion of the matter. But the ground landlord, Mr Waller, 
lives in Buckinghamshire, who I understand is a very hot 
man ; but I find the attorney quite the contrary ; other- 
wise you would infallibly have entered into a law suit, or I 
must have made a hasty submission. . . . 


1698, August 17. Rochester. EDWARD GOUDGE to 
THOMAS COKE, at Bretby 

... I left the men once again in good order, with a 
strict charge to go on with all speed imaginable, and after 
a little time I shall be able to give a better guess what time 
we shall finish. . . . Madam Godolphin is still as trouble- 
some as she can, saying she hath bought Mr Waller's 
ground as I am informed. But I took a note under the 
attorney's hand to acquit you from any further trouble, 
after the removing the encroachment, which is done, and 
your building stands wholly within the walls. 

1698, August 24. London. LUKE BARROW to THOMAS 

COKE at Bretby 

... I am in your house at this time in 3 James Place, 
being put in by Mr Goudge. Your building doth go on 
now though it hath been three times hindred and caused to 
be altered, by some unworthy and envious persons, con- 
cerning which I suppose there hath been more malice than 
matter in it, their aim and end that you might have no 
building at all there. And especially one family near 
neighbours, particularly the gentlewoman, of the house, 
with her husband, Mr Godolphin, who lately, when one of 
the workmen was nailing some boards on that end of the 
building next to their garden, stood with a pistol ready 
cocked, and said he would shoot any man that should dare 
to put out his head or his hand over the garden to drive a 
nail there. I never perceived so much envy appear in my 
life as hath been ever since it began. . . . 

1698, August 29. Rochester. EDWARD GOUDGE to 

THOMAS COKE at Bretby Manor 

Since there were no thoughts of making a scaffold on 
Mr Godolphin 's ground to plaister that end, I ordered it 



to be weather boarded ; which when the carpenters were 
going about to do by standing within our own building 
and putting their heads between the quarters to nail the 
boards, Mr Godolphin came out with a pistol and swore he 
would shoot that man through the head that should offer 
but to swing his hand over his ground to drive a nail, 
whereupon the carpenters being scared from their work, 
I ordered it to be bricked up between the quarters, which 
is done ; and that side boarded next Madam LuttrelFs 
garden, so that now I hope all the disturbance is over. 
This surly troublesome neighbour of yours hath so hindered 
us that it will be too hard a task for us to get the house 
quite finished by the 27th of September. . . . 

1698, September 3. St James's Place. LUKE BARROW 


Mr Godolphin is now erecting his monument of malice ; 
and he hath prevailed with our neighbour on the left hand 
to build along that wall, and the end of his fabric is 
fastened into his house : the manner of their building is 
long poles, and they are preparing to board it. The gentle- 
woman is very jocund, and full of laughter, and they all 
seem to be much pleased with what they are doing. But 
I told them all aloud, I believed they would have little 
cause to rejoice in the end. . . . 

What the result of this dispute was does not appear ; 
at least there is no further correspondence concerning 
it, and as by the following letter the faithful Goudge is 
shown busying himself about the internal decorations 
and furnishing of Mr Coke's house, it is probable that 
an amicable settlement was arrived at. 



1698, September 22. London. EDWARD GOUDGE to 
Bretby Manor, Burton Bagg 

... I have taken care that your household necessaries 
be as ready for you as your building, viz. : jack, jackwheel, 
spits, racks, boiler, stoves, cistern, etc. I do not doubt 
but some other things will come into my mind, supposing 
you are not provided with any thing for this house but 
hangings, beds, pictures, chaiis, etc. I desire you would 
be pleased to answer these following queries, viz. : 

1. How must the Japan pictures be disposed of? 

2. Shall there be a glass pier in the lower room in the 

new building, as it is ordered above in the middle 
storey ? 

3. Would you have sash doors in the closet of that 

storey for a library? 

4. Would you have any prints pasted before you 


5. Would you have glass in the piers of the dining 

room, as also over the marble chimney piece 

there ? 

It is a very dear ornament, therefore I do not advise it, 
except it be mighty agreeable to yours, and my Lady's 

In 1710 Addison was living in St James's Place, prob- 
ably in lodgings, and two letters of his to Joseph Keally 
are dated from here on 23rd and 27th April of that year. 1 
It appears that at this time Eustace Budgell, his relation 
and secretary, was residing with him. According to 
Spence, Addison used to have Davenant, Steele, Carey, and 
Captain Brett to breakfast with him in St James's Place, 
and that besides Budgell, Philips used to stay there. 
1 They are given in Berkeley's Literary Relics, pp. 384-388 



Another resident about the same time was Thomas 
Parnell, the poet, who was also, it will be recalled, Arch- 
deacon of Clogher in 1706, which gives point to the remark 
of Jervas to Pope that he had "not yet seen the dear 
Archdeacon, who is at his lodgings in St James's Place." 
Other contemporary inhabitants were Admiral Churchill, 
brother of the great Marlborough, who died in 1710; 
Secretary Craggs, William Cleland, another of Pope's 
friends who in 1739 writes to Dr Birch, giving him the 
following directions to find his lodgings: "Come as far 
up St James's Place, as you can, still keeping on the right 
side, turn up at the end which lands you at a little court of 
which the middle door is that of my house " and White 
Kennett, Bishop of Peterborough and author of Kennett's 
Register, who is stated, in London Past and Present, to 
have died in a house here on 19th December 1728. 

But one more interesting than the poet's friend or the 
learned bishop once resided in St James's Place, notably 
the beautiful Molly Lepel, who became Lady Hervey, and 
whose name is so closely associated with the Court and 
fashionable life of George II. 's day. The history of her 
house here is told in her Letters. 1 She built it herself from 
designs by Flitcroft, during 1747-1748. Writing on 10th 
December of the former year, she says : "I have a dozen 
plans, a compass, rules, &c., lying before me, and expect 
Mr Flitcroft every instant," which indicates the approxi- 
mate commencement of the work. On 2nd April 1748 
we find her in the midst of it. "I must now quit you for 
Mr Flitcroft, angles, feet, greystock bricks, cornice, fascias, 
copeings and what not, only torments me at present but 
I fear will undo me in the end. My old house is now a 
heap of ruins and dust ; but I hope out of its ashes there 
will soon arise a Phoenix house, where you will often eat 
as plain a dinner, see as fine a prospect, and as beautiful 
1 Published in 1821, and edited by J. W. Croker. 


a verdure as at Nursling. I build but part of my house at 
present; time, economy, or my heir must finish it." It 
will thus be seen that Lady Hervey's house was erected 
on the site of a residence she already owned here. A year 
later, she speaks of having paid dear to make her new 
dwelling look as like the country as she can ; but surgit 
amari aliquid, "I have been too much used to grass and 
green trees to bear the changing them for brick walls and 
dust," she moans. At the end of another year she writes 
to a friend thus : " Pray go and visit my house, and then 
tell me sincerely what you think of it. I must inform 
you first that it is but two parts in three of it that is 
carried up ; the rest remains to be done about two years 
and a half hence ; so that the great stairs, an ante- 
chamber to my great room, and a servant's room to the 
bedchamber, are all as yet unbuilt : make these allow- 
ances, and then tell me if you like it. If you say, as you 
did once before, that you wish I had made a bow window, 
consider what would have been the consequence of it ; 
instead of those windows which now afford me as fine a 
view as possible, I should have had but one window that 
would have looked towards Chelsea and the country : 
from one of the oblique windows I should have looked 
into Sir John Cope's room, and have afforded him a view 
of mine : from the other I should have seen the Duke of 
Devonshire's house, when the dust of Piccadilly would 
have permitted it." 

After the death of Lady Hervey (2nd September 1768) 1 
Lord Carlisle took her house. He writes to his friend 
Selwyn, on the 13th October of that year : "By this time 
you will be empowered to take Lady Hervey's house for 
me, which I think is too good to lose for a little more 

1 A year earlier, Lady Sarah Bunbury tells Selwyn that the 
Princess Poniatowska was then residing -' next to Lord Spencer's '* 
in St James's Place. 



money " ; and in another letter, written six days later, he 
adds : "I agree with you it is very extravagant to gives 
two hundred a year to see a cow under my windows, but 
still I am very happy to have the house, and hope you will 
like the present owner as well as you did the last one." * 
Subsequent letters indicate that about 1775 Lord Carlisle 
thought of giving up the house, as his losses at cards made 
it necessary for him to curtail his expenses, but he was 
still there in 1780. 

It seems that the Duke of Bedford once contemplated 
purchasing the house, for Selwyn, writing to Lady Carlisle 
in 1786, says that he (the Duke) "will buy a house near 
Brooks 's, that he may not have so far to go from thence 
at nights, as to Bloomsbury Square, and would have given 
ten thousand pounds for that in St James's Place in which 
you lived." 

Subsequently Lady Hervey's house, "that charming 
house the Hotel de Miladi," as Lord March called it, was 
occupied by the Earl of Moira, formerly Lord Rawdon, 2 
the Regent's friend; and at a later date still it was 
divided into two residences. 

At the time of Lady Hervey's occupation Sir John Cope, 
as we gather from one of the letters just quoted, was her 
next-door neighbour, and in 1756 John Walker was stay- 
ing here "at Mrs Murray's in very elegant lodgings." 
In 1783 I find Lord Lucan writing to Mr Pery from here 
and mentioning that "at this moment (19th April) there 
are about 2000 sailors parading in St James's Street," 
and that "their grievances are ill-founded and therefore 
difficult to settle." 

Two years later the Rate Books prove that the fashion- 
able character of St James's Place was well maintained. 
Living there at that time were Lady Amelia Hervey, Lady 

1 Selwyn and his Contemporaries, by Jesse, vol. ii., pp. 332-336. 

2 He writes to William Knox from here, in 1790. 



Euphemia Stuart, Thomas Townshend, 1 rented at 30; 
Lord Spencer, paying 500 rental; Mr Rigby, 2 paying 
150 ; the Earl of Northington, paying 180 ; Lord Vere, 
paying 165 ; the Earl of Huntingdon, Lady Betty Fitz- 
william, Sir Robert Gunning and, last but not least, Mrs 
Delany, paying 80 rent. 

We first find Mrs Delany here in 1749, in which year she 
writes to Mrs Dewes, from Bulstrode, that her house is in 
St James's Place, the landlady's name Lynch. The first 
letter written by her from her new residence is also ad- 
dressed to Mrs Dewes on 16th January 1750 ; but by the 
following May she is back at Delville. I think, therefore, 
that this sojourn was a temporary one, probably with a 
view to see how she liked St James's Place as a permanent 
residence, and that it had nothing to do with the house 
she subsequently took there. Two years later Mrs Delany 
tells her friends that she shall have a house secured for her 
near St James's Chapel and the Park, and this she finally 
did, in Suffolk Street apparently, at a higher rent than she 
had paid for the St James's Place lodging. 3 

When exactly she entered into possession of the house 
in St James's Place which was to be her London residence 
for so many years is not quite clear ; she seems to have 
been in one in Thatched House Court till June 1771, in 

1 He was afterwards Lord Sydney, and is one of those mentioned 
in Goldsmith's Retaliation. 

2 Rigby was writing letters from here two years earlier. In a 
list of persons paying tax on men-servants for 1780, I find General 
de Buede, Hon. Ann Boscawen, the Hon. Mrs Beauclerk, Colonel 
Peter, and the Earl of Carlisle given as living in St James's Place ; 
while in the previous year (23rd December), Walpole, writing to 
Lady Ossory, says (speaking of Lord Bristol's will), " Lord 
Bristol has given his mother's (Lady Hervey's) house in St James's 
Place to his brother. Col. Hervey." 

* On 1 4th October 1752 she tells Mrs De\res that " cousin Foley 
has another call to London, and the Maid of Honour has taken a 
house for them in St James's Place.' 5 



which month she writes to Lady Andover thus : "I 
suppose your ladyship cannot be ignorant of so important 
a transaction as the present possessor of the 'little 
Thatch ' having purchased some old walls in St James's 
Place, in order to remove thither by the end of July. " So 
that this approximately marks the date of the change. 
She was busy with her workmen during June, as she tells 
Lady Andover in a subsequent letter ; but the first letter 
from the new house is dated 7th December 1771, so that 
probably the alterations took longer than had been an- 
ticipated. In the following January Mrs Delany felt two 
earthquake-like shocks, and her maid, rushing into her 
room, informed her that the house was coming down. 
However, it was not so bad as that, and proved to be the 
effects of an explosion of some powder-mills at Hounslow. 1 
The Hotel Delany, as Mrs Boscawen called it, continued 
to be Mrs Delany 's winter headquarters till her death. 
Here visited from tune to tune the blue-stocking Mrs 
Montagu and the learned Mrs Chapone, Lady Bute, the 
clever daughter of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and 
Mrs Carter, the translator of Epictetus, Mrs Boscawen 
and Hannah More, the Duchess of Portland and Fanny 
Burney (who has left a famous record of her first call on 
dear Mrs Delany). Soame Jenyns came here, and Horace 
Walpole's conversation is said never to have been more 
pleasing or amusing than at his old friend's tea-table, and 
here Lord North kept awake and was witty and mirthful. 
Here, too, Mrs Delany, at the request of Dr Burney, 
dictated her recollections of Anastasia Robinson, as well 
.as the strange story of the marriage of that beautiful 
singer with the eccentric Earl of Peterborough. 

During the Gordon Riots there seems to have been no 

little apprehension felt that the neighbourhood of St 

James's would share the fate of Newgate and Bloomsbury 

1 5th January 1772. 

1 06 


Square, and Mrs Delany, writing to Mrs Port of Ham, on 
8th June 1780, tells how the Duchess of Portland, leaving 
London for Bulstrode, insisted on her accompanying the 
party, "as some houses in St James's Place and Street 
were threatened." By the 23rd of the month, however, 
Mrs Delany was back in town, and writes from St James's 
Place, where, she says : "I am come to see how the new 
painting of my drawing-room comes on." 

The last mention of the house is on 19th August 1785 
before Mrs Delany went to the cottage prepared for her by 
George III. and Queen Charlotte at Windsor in the follow- 
ing September. The St James's Place house was, how- 
ever, retained and Mrs Delany went up to it occasionally 
or lent it (as she did to Mrs Granville in 1787) to friends. 
In the winter of this year she was there, and letters dated 
by her on 3rd February and 22nd March 1788 from here 
are extant. On 15th April she breathed her last here. 1 
By her will she ordered the repayment of 400 which her 
friend the Duchess of Portland had advanced to her for 
the purchase of the house in St James's Place. Appar- 
ently she left the residence to her niece, Miss Port of Ham, 
as among the Delany correspondence is a letter from an 
old friend, Mrs Weddell, endeavouring to persuade Miss 
Port to leave the St James's Street house and to go and 
reside with her in Stratton Street. 

Fanny Burney has left us a long and minute description 
of Mrs Delany's London house. It is dated 19th January 
1783 and will be found in the Diary. Suffice it here to 
say that the writer paid her visit in company with Mrs 
Chapone ; that she found Mrs Delany alone in her drawing- 
room, " which is entirely hung round with pictures of her 
own painting and ornaments of her own designing " ; that 
Mrs Delany showed her the new method she had invented 
of cutting out designs in coloured paper so as to imitate 
1 See Letters oj Mrs Delany, published in 1820. 


flowers in a most life-like manner, as well as some portraits 
(one of "Sacharissa" and one of Madame de Sevigne); 
which seem to have struck the authoress of Evelina par- 
ticularly. The Duchess of Portland came in later and 
Fanny Burney sets down, with something of the precision 
and ingenuousness of Pepys, the flattering things which the 
great ladies said to her about her books and her genius. 

At the time when Mrs Delany was occupying her house 
we find Charles James Fox writing (1783) from St James's 
Place, where he had a temporary lodging. About the 
same period it appears that Warren Hastings was, 
curiously enough, close by his future antagonist, having 
come to lodge in the street on his arrival in England to 
meet the charges subsequently brought against him at his 
impeachment. In The Rolliad there is the following refer- 
ence to the great proconsul's sojourn in St James's Place l : 

" Or in thy chosen Place, St James, 
Be carolled loud amid th 'applauding Imhoffs." 

In a note to this passage we read : "He did not know 
Mr Hastings's house to be in St James's Place ; he did not 
know Mrs Hastings to have two sons by Mjiiheer Imhoff , 
her former husband, still living ; and, what is more shameful 
than all, in a critical assessor, he had never heard of the 
poetical figure by which I elegantly say the Place, St 
James, instead of St James's Place." 

In 1795 William Windham, writing to Lord Grenville, 
speaks of a M. de Tuisaye, ' ' who will be to be heard of at any 
time at Mr Saladin's at No. St James's Place " ; and in 
the same year Lord St Helens writes also to Lord Grenville 
from here. In the following year the Rate Books reveal 
the presence of the following residents : Lady Amelia 

1 Arthur, proprietor of White's Chocolate House, died at his 
house in St James's Place, in June 1761. 



Hervey, General Mordaimt, Earl Stopford (?), Lord Maiden, 
the Duke of St Albans, the Earl of Moira, General Johnson, 
and Roger Wilbraham, Esq., at No. 11, from 1796 to 1800. 
Another interesting inhabitant, probably only as a lodger, 
was Isaac D 'Israeli, who writes a letter (undated) to Lady 
Blessington from St James's Place. At No. 34 Lord 
Cochrane, better known as the Earl of Dundonald, was 
once living, and it was to this house, according to a writer 
in London Past and Present, "that the swindler De 
Berenger came on 21st February 1814, and obtained the 
disguise by which he hoped to elude the agents of the Stock 
Exchange." The same authority speaks of Mrs Robinson, 
the actress, once living at No. 13, the assumption being 
that this was the lady who became the mistress of George; 
Prince of Wales. I am, however, more inclined to identify 
her with Mrs Anastasia Robinson, the singer, who was 
afterwards the wife of the eccentric Earl of Peterborough. 1 

Coming to later days we have Captain Marryat at No. 38, 
in 1832, before he went to Duke Street, and Captain Basil 
Hall at No. 4 in the previous year. At No. 25, the house 
which had been built by Lord Guildford, Sir Francis 
Burdett lived for a number of years, and died on 23rd 
January 1844 ; while from 1822 to 1832 Sir John Lubbock 
resided at No. 23. 

But the two most famous houses in St James's Place 
are Spencer House and Rogers' old home, No. 22. The 
former was designed by J. Vardy for the 1st Earl Spencer; 
and was begun about the end of 1755 or early in the follow- 
ing year. "It will be superb when finished," writes Mrs 
Delany, who, in September 1756, went to see the progress 
of the place and then found the ground floor completed. 

1 See Mrs Delany 's recollections of this lady, dictated at the 
request of Dr Burney, and incorporated in his History of Music, 
vol. iv., p. 247. Mr Wheatley in his Round About Piccadilly, says 
Mrs Robinson was living at No. 14, in 1796. 



Although Vardy was responsible for the body of the house, 
the St James's Place facade was the work of James Stuart, 
the architect, and so elaborate was the work that the house 
was not habitable for several years. Elmes, speaking of 
"this magnificent mansion," says: "I have heard it 
asserted that the shell of Spencer House, consisting of 
solid stone, cost alone 50,000 guineas," while Mr Blom- 
field speaks of its internal arrangements as being "more 
modern than any place of the time." l 

Magnificent as is Spencer House, with its elaborate 
decorations by Zucchi, and interesting from its political 
memories, it can hardly vie with the small residence close 
by, where Rogers lived and entertained all, or nearly all, 
the notable men and women of his long-drawn-out day. 

In was in 1802 that Rogers, 2 in conjunction with Sir 
John Lubbock, purchased a house in St James's Place, 
overlooking the Green Park. As the friends divided the 
residence I assume that one half of the original building 
became the residence of Lubbock and the other that of 
Rogers. This latter portion is numbered 22 and repre- 
sents, from the beauty and rarity of its contents as well 
as from the illustrious character of its many visitors in 
the past, one of the most interesting of London's many 
interesting dwellings. The care the poet expended on his 
house is recorded in a variety of memoirs and letters of 
the period. Clayden 3 tells us how Rogers set to work to 
make his house worthy of the beautiful objects with which 
he intended filling it. " He had made notes of household 

1 1 have given a full account of Spencer House in my Private 
Palaces of London, and therefore do not say more about the place 

2 Another banker once lived, circa 1790, in one of the houses on 
the west side of St James's Place, notably Mr Robert Smith, M.P. 
for Nottingham, and later created by George III. (very unwillingly) 
Lord Carrington. 

3 Early Life of Rogers. 



arrangements he had seen in houses in which he had 
visited," writes his biographer, "had given much study 
to questions of decoration and ornament, and had de- 
signed the furniture himself, with the assistance of Hope's 
work on the subject." The drawing-room mantelpiece 
was designed by Flaxman; Stothard planned and painted 
one of the cabinets ; the skilled hand of Chantrey carved 
the dining-room sideboard, which the sculptor in after 
days, when he had become famous and a guest of Rogers, 
pointed out to his host as his work. Greek vases dotted 
the house ; much of the furniture was modelled from the 
same classic source ; the staircase was decorated with a 
frieze copied from a famous original among the Elgin 
Marbles. The pictures were worthy of their carefully 
prepared setting. Examples of Titian and Raphael, 
Correggio and Guido, Veronese and Barocchio, and even 
of Giotto's tentative imaginings, rubbed shoulders with 
the florid wonders of Rubens and Reynolds' distinguished 
canvases. Here was the superb little Knight in Armour 
which Scott admired so much ; there the small Raphael 
which Rogers hoped he might have in the room in which 
he died ; in a portfolio were preserved Flaxman 's original 
designs from Homer ; in elaborate cases were rare and 
beautifully bound books, and on them ornaments which 
showed the artistic and selective character of their 
collector. Well might Byron exclaim : "If you enter 
his house, his drawing-room, his library, you of yourself 
say, ' This is not the dwelling of a common mind. ' There 
is not a gem, a coin, a book thrown aside on his chimney- 
piece, his sofa, his table, that does not bespeak an almost 
fastidious elegance in the possessor." Macaulay and 
Sumner, Moore and Ticknor, and a hundred others, who 
knew the host and his possessions, have combined in 
recording the exquisite taste exhibited in the furnishing 
and decoration of No. 22 St James's Place. Hardly will 


you take up a volume of memoirs or reminiscences of the 
period but you find some mention of the place in terms of 
eulogy and admiration. For Rogers was acquainted with 
everybody. In later life he became an institution, and 
people forgave the bitterness of his tongue, because those 
who knew him well understood the inherent goodness of 
his heart, and casual acquaintances regarded, perhaps, a 
rude retort as a small thing as against the pleasure of 
enjoying an artistic treat or listening to the voice of one 
who had known intimately so many illustrious people. 
What Holland House was on a large scale, so was the St 
James's Place shrine on a small one. Here Byron had 
refused to eat anything but mashed potatoes soaked in 
vinegar; here Sydney Smith had uttered his famous 
mot with reference to the lighting of Rogers' dinner- 
table ; here Fanny Burney had dined to meet Mrs Crewe 
of " True Blue " fame, and Mrs Barbauld ; here Moore 
met Byron and Campbell and Wordsworth and here 
were held those breakfasts beginning at ten, when "so 
agreeable and fascinating was the conversation of the 
host that the repast seldom ended before noon and 
sometimes extended so late as 1 o'clock." * 

"What a delightful house it is ! " exclaims Macaulay. 
" It looks out on the Green Park just at the most pleasant 
spot. The furniture has been selected with a delicacy of 
taste quite unique. Its value does not depend on fashion 
but must be the same while the fine arts are held in any 
esteem. In the drawing-room, for example, the chimney- 
pieces are carved by Flaxman into the most beautiful 
Grecian forms. The bookcase is painted by Stothard in 
his very best manner, with groups from Chaucer, Shake- 
speare and Boccaccio. The pictures are not numerous, 
but every one is excellent. In the dining-room there are 
also some beautiful paintings. But the three most re- 
1 Mackay, Through the Long Day. 


markable objects in that room are, I think, a cast of Pope 
taken after death, by Roubiliac ; a noble model in terra- 
cotta, by Michael Angelo, from which he afterwards made 
one of his finest statues, that of Lorenzo de Medici ; and 
lastly a mahogany table on which stands an antique vase. " 

For fifty-three years did Rogers dwell amid his treasures, 
hardly passing a day without receiving in St James's 
Place some notable guest. In 1855 he was in his ninety- 
third year and " he was still in his London house waiting, 
without fear indeed, with actual desire for the approach- 
ing change. It came on Tuesday morning, the 18th of 
December, when he passed quietly and peacefully away. " l 

After Rogers' death his collections were dispersed ; 
some pictures, including The Knight in Armour, were be- 
queathed by him to the National Gallery ; and his famous 
home, which had originally (together with No. 23) as one 
house belonged to the Duke of St Albans, passed to alien 

Mr Wheatley reminds me that by the side of the house 
was formerly a pathway into the Green Park. The gate 
has now been locked for many years, and once a writer in 
Notes and Queries, who had used it daily between the 
years 1810 and 1823, asked by "whose authority this 
convenient passage has been closed," without, apparently, 
receiving any satisfactory reply. Apropos of rights-of- 
way the following story is given by Wraxall in his 
Posthumous Memoirs of his Own Time : 

"Sir Richard Phillipps, a Welsh baronet of ancient 
descent, when member for Pembrokeshire in the year 
1776, having preferred a request to his Majesty, through 
the first minister, Lord North, for permission to make a 
carriage-road up to the front of his house, which looked 
into St James's Park, met with a refusal. The King, 
apprehensive that if he acceded to Sir Richard's desire it 
1 Clayden, Rogers and his Contemporaries. 

H 113 

would form a precedent for many similar applications, 
put a negative on it ; but Lord North, in delivering the 
answer, softened it by adding that if he wished to be 
created an Irish peer no difficulty would be experienced. 
This honour being thus tendered him he accepted it and 
was forthwith made a baron of that kingdom by the title 
of Lord Milford. His intimate friend and mine, the late 
Sir John Stepney, related this fact to me not long after it 
took place." 1 

On the south side of St James's Place a small cul-de-sac 
was known as Cleveland Court, and here, according to Mrs 
Delany, a Mrs Stock took a house in 1749, thus proving 
its one-time residential character. It is clearly marked 
in Horwood's plan, and is not to be confounded with the 
Cleveland Court described by Elmes as being "almost 
eight houses on the left hand from St James's Street," 
which ran from Cleveland Row northwards and is now 
bounded on the west by Bridgwater House. 

The next turning out of St James's Street is Little St 
James's Street, which is given in 1831 as being about eleven 
houses on the left hand going from St James's Palace to 
Piccadilly. Connected with it was Catherine Wheel Yard 
Lane, interesting because Mrs Delany once took a house 
here in 1768. At an earlier period, as we have seen, she 
was in St James's Place and also at a later, and it seems 
likely, therefore, that if the house she occupied at these 
periods was the same, she must have given it up or let it 
for a time. The reference we have to the place in Catherine 
Wheel Lane is contained in a letter to her sister, dated 
from Whitehall, 14th October 1768, in which she says : 

" I was told yesterday of (a house), and went to see it; 
the place is called Catherine Wheel Lane ; it is behind the 

1 In 1863 the Public Schools Club was established at No. 17 
St James's Place, in a house which had previously been the 
residence of Lord Lyttelton. 



Thatched House Tavern in St James's Street ; but it is 
not near enough to be at all incommoded by it ; it is very 
small, but both prettily and conveniently situated ; the 
front faces a cross street now called Little St James's 
Street, and the back looks into^the Duke of Bridgewater's 
garden very pleasantly, and a coach drives very well to the 
door, and people of fashion live in the row. The landlord 
is a man of good character, and is going to fit it up, and 
will make any alterations I shall desire ; it is to be entirely 
new painted, etc., and the best rooms new sashed ; it has 
been built about five and thirty years. It cannot possibly 
be finished before Christmas, at which time, if I agree with 
him, the rent will commence ; but I shall not hurry into 
it. ... The Landlord is to paper the rooms in the manner 

The house was taken, but on the following 19th January 
Mrs Delany still writes from Whitehall. However, on 
16th June 1769 she dates a letter from T. H. C. (Thatched 
House Court), and again, on 27th December, she tells 
Lady Andover how good she is to bestow so much of her 
time and thoughts "on the solitary inhabitant of the 
Little Thatch." 

It seems that Thatched House Court was connected 
with Little St James's Street by Catherine Wheel Lane, 
so that, according to Mrs Delany 's description of her 
house, it must have been at the lower end of Thatched 
Court House, looking up Catherine Wheel Lane into the 
thoroughfare, and although she speaks of the residence as 
being in Catherine Wheel Lane it was really in the court. 
It is curious that Rhodes 's plan of the parish, dated 1770, 
does not give Little St James's Street, but marks the 
turning as Catherine Wheel Lane, as if the latter had an 
exit into St James's Street. 

We have now arrived at the bottom of St James's Street, 
1 Mrs Delany. A Memoir, by George Paston. 


and should properly, I suppose, end here, but Cleveland 
Row seems so part and parcel with the thoroughfare that 
I must spare a few words for it. 


Cleveland Row faces St James's Palace and forms a 
western continuation of Pall Mall as far as Cleveland 
Square and Bridgewater House. Its interesting inhabit- 
ants in the past include, in 1695, the Countess of Thanet, 
and the Earl of Bridgewater, 1 who are given in the Rate 
Books as "over against St James's stables " ; and Mason, 
the poet, who, after his marriage in 1767, came to lodge with 
his wife here. The approximate position of his residence 
is indicated from the following passage in one of his letters 
to Gray (2nd February 1767) : " We have changed our 
lodgings, and are to be found at Mr Mennis's, a tailor, at 
the Golden Ball in Cleveland Row, the last door but one 
nearest the Green Park Wall." Later, in 1772, Lord 
Rodney occupied one of the houses, and Wraxall relates 
how he "passed much time with him here, down to the 
very moment of his departure for the West Indies in 1779. 
In the List of Persons who paid Tax on Male Servants in 
1780, 1 find Mrs Susanna Bracken given as living in Cleve- 
land Row ; while five years later the Rate Books record 
the following residents here: the Hon. George Selwyn, 
John Fenton, Lord Berwick and the Hon. Keith Stuart ; 
the Duke of Bridgewater is also given as living in Cleveland 

The house in which Selwyn died, on 25th January 1791, 
was formerly the residence of his mother, and in it occurred 
the famous quarrel between Walpole and Townshend, which 
Gay parodied with such success in his Beggar's Opera. 2 

1 It is curious that Lord Bridgewater should have lived near the 
spot where later the Duke of Bridgewater had his residence. 

2 Wraxall 's Memoirs. 



A house adjoining is interesting for another reason. 
"In May 1761," writes Sir Edward Hertslet, "the Earl 
of Bute removed his office (The Foreign Office) the 
Northern Department from the Cockpit at Whitehall 
to a house in Cleveland Road, and it had previously 
belonged to Baron Behr." 

Various letters are given by Sir Edward referring to the 
residence, one of which records the addition (in 1771) of a 
smaller house adjoining to the office ; and yet another 
notifying the removal of the Foreign Office from Cleveland 
Row in 1786. x The premises had been rented from Sir 
George Warren. 

Later residents in Cleveland Row were Henry Flood, 
the orator, who was living here while a member of the 
English Parliament in 1784 ; Sir Sydney Smith, in 
1809, and Theodore Hook, who rented, from 1827-1831, 
the large house (No. 5) occupied by Smith, and belonging 
to Lord Lowther, at 100 a year, and characteristically 
borrowed a large sum to furnish it. 

Leading out of Cleveland Row were two tributary 
streets, one being known as Russell Court whose only 
notable inhabitant appears to have been Sir Gilbert 
Affleck, who was living here in 1796 2 and the other as 
Cleveland Court. Both this and the row take their 
name, of course, from Cleveland House, which formerly 
stood here. 

In the court Charles Jervas, the painter, died on 2nd 
November 1739. Pope used at one time to take lessons 
from Jervas here, and references in the poet's letters 
attest this, and also the fact that on several occasions 
Pope actually stayed in the house. 

Although George Selwyn is given, as we have seen, in 
the Rate Books as living in Cleveland Row, his residence 

1 See Recollections of the Foreign Office. 

2 St George's Rate Books. 



is also stated to have been in Cleveland Court. 1 It is 
therefore possible that it was at the corner of the two, a 
situation likely to confuse the very inadequate methods 
of rate-collectors in those days. It seems certain that it 
was in the court, at any rate, that Selwyn's friend, Gilly 
Williams, died on 25th November 1805. 

One other reference to Cleveland Court is contained in 
Mrs Delany's Autobiography, for that lady, writing to Miss 
Dewes, on 15th August 1768, remarks: "At our return 
we [the Duchess of Portland was her companion] went to 
my Lord Carlisle's in Cleveland Court (nobody in Town), 
to see the King of Denmark, who is in Lord Bathe's old 
house at St James's and opposite to Lord Carlisle's. (I 
should have said Sir W. Musgrave's.) His Majesty was 
dressing, and' the blinds down all but a little peep ; the 
Duchess had the satisfaction of a glimpse of him, and I of 
his valet de chambre." 

As I have said, Cleveland House and its grounds 
occupied the site of the row and court of that name. 
The mansion was originally known as Berkshire House; 
and had been erected by Thomas Howard, Earl of Berk- 
shire, in the reign of Charles I. Here it was that Lord 
Clarendon lived after he had left Worcester House and 
before Clarendon House in Piccadilly was ready for him. 
Here he was visited by Evelyn and Pepys, and here, at a 
Council, Samuel records that "my Lord Chancellor was 
sleeping and. snoring the greater part of the time." Other 
tenants of the place included the French Ambassador, in 
1664-1665. Adjoining the house was another, which be- 
longed partly to Sir William Pulteney, as is shown by a 
warrant, dated 24th September 1670, " to pay Sir William 

1 This seems proved by an entry in Romney's engagement- 
book, which reads "Maria Fagniani, Cleveland Court" Maria 
Fagniani being, of course, the adopted daughter (or actual 
daughter) of George Selwyn, later Marchioness of Hertford. 



Pulteney 400 for his interest in a house adjoining 
Berkshire House." 

In 1668 the property was purchased by Charles II. for 
Lady Castlemaine, who, two years later, was created 
Duchess of Cleveland and who then gave her new name 
to the residence. 

In course of time she sold a portion of the grounds to- 
wards St James's Street, and several houses were erected 
on it, in one of which the Earl of Nottingham resided, 
presumably after he had sold Nottingham House, Ken- 
sington, to William III. in 1691. On the death of the 
Duchess of Cleveland in 1709, Cleveland House passed to 
her son, Charles Fitzroy, Duke of Cleveland, whose son 
married one of Lord Nottingham's daughters, and who 
continued to live here till his death in 1730. The house 
was later purchased by the 1st Duke of Bridgewater, 
whose son, the 3rd Duke, considerably enlarged it. 
Eventually the property passed to the 1st Earl of 
Ellesmere who, in 1849, built the present Bridgewater 
House, from the designs of Sir Charles Barry. Originally 
Berkshire or Cleveland House and its grounds extended 
from the Park to the corner of St James's Street. 1 

The western portion of Cleveland Row is now known as 
Cleveland Square, surely the strangest of the many strange 
squares in London. We know what it looks like to-day : 
its north side filled up by Bridgewater House, Mr 
Rochfort-Maguire's island-residence facing it, and behind 
that the row of small houses ending on their east side in 
the once flower-bedecked house of the late Lord Armistead, 
the life-long friend of Mr Gladstone. What the place looked 
like two hundred years ago can be judged by a glance at 
Kip's map, dated 1710-1720. 

1 Bridgewater House is another of the mansions dealt with in 
The Private Palaces of London, where an account of its pictorial 
treasures will be found. 



It is difficult nowadays to differentiate between Cleve- 
land Square and Cleveland Row, because in earlier times 
the latter ran right through to the Park on both sides of 
the way excepting where Cleveland House broke its 
north line and the houses of the earlier " Row," at their 
west end, became later the residences in the square. In 
addition to those people I have already noted as living 
here may be mentioned Lord George Gordon in 1785 ; 
Thomas Grenville, the great book-collector, at No. 15, 
from 1796 to 1801 ; Sir Gilbert Blane, a once well-known 
physician, at No. 4, from 1800 to 1802 ; and Lord Castle- 
reagh, who occupied, in 1803, No. 8, a house later tenanted 
by Viscount Sydney. 



THERE are ten important clubs, as well as a few lesser ones, 
in St James's Street to-day. Of the larger ones two are 
on the east and eight on the west side. In the order of 
their establishment they are as follows : White's (1697), 
The Cocoa Tree (1746), Boodle's (1762), Brooks's (1764), 
Arthur's (1765), The Conservative (1840), The New 
University (1863), The Thatched House (1865), The 
Devonshire (1875) and The Royal Societies (1894). Most 
of them are what is termed "social," and only three 
can be regarded as political even in the wide extension 
which that term has come to assume Brooks's, The 
Conservative and The Devonshire. 

Both Pall Mall and Piccadilly have more clubs than 
St James's Street, but none of them dates its formation 
back further than the early years of the nineteenth 
century, and therefore in this region, which is known as 
Clubland, St James's Street takes priority in age and, in 
the case of certain clubs, in importance and historic and 
social interest. 

The genesis of some of the earlier established clubs was 
in the cocoa-houses which sprang up in London in the 
middle of the eighteenth century. 

The proprietor of a cocoa-house seems to have awaited 
the psychological moment when his clientele was of such 
a character as to be more or less permanent and to have 
become personally acquainted with each other. Then he 
would sound the influential and find that they were pre- 
pared to subscribe certain amounts on the understanding 



that strangers were no longer admitted in a word, he 
acquired the necessary powers to run his establishment 
under rules which automatically converted what had been 
a public house of call into a private society's headquarters. 
Both White's and The Cocoa Tree are examples of this 
metamorphosis, and as such have a double history : their 
records as cocoa-houses and their more varied annals as 


"White's " Club is something more than a club ; it is 
an institution. For over two hundred years it has been 
so intimately associated with the political history of the 
country as almost to take its place in its annals by the 
side of Brooks 's. Its records have been preserved from 
a very early date, and their publication (1892), by the Hon. 
Algernon Bourke, in two large quarto volumes, will have 
enlightened those interested in the club and political life 
of two centuries, concerning all data on which they may 
require information. Besides this the few other works 
which deal generally with the clubs of London have, of 
course, repeated as fully as possible the historic details 
which cling with such full growth round White's. For this 
reason it is not necessary here to recapitulate as amply 
as would otherwise have been incumbent on me the annals 
of the club. I am, indeed, gleaning in a field that has 
been already carefully searched, and I must therefore fall 
back on the full sheaves of earlier workers, perhaps being 
able here and there to add a wisp to the already well- 
garnered store. 

White's Club grew out of White's Chocolate House. In 
its earlier form it was first opened by one Francis White, 
in 1693, at a house on the east side of St James's Street, 
its site being to-day occupied by Boodle's Club. Four 





years later (1697), White, requiring more commodious 
premises, found them on the opposite side of the street. 
The house he took was three doors south of St James's 
Place, and its exact position is the northern portion of 
the present Arthur's club-house. Here White continued 
till 1702, when he took in the adjoining house on the 
south side of his premises. At this time John Arthur's 
name appears in the Rate Books as White's next-door 
neighbour on the north side, and, as Mr Bourke remarks, 
"the name is an important one in tracing the subsequent 
history of the club, Arthur being at this time White's 
servant and assistant-manager." It will be found that 
members of White's (Lord March, for instance) sometimes 
date from "Arthur's," which was only another name for 
White's, and had nothing to do with the present Arthur's 

White carried on his Chocolate House with success till 
1711, in the February of which year he died, and was buried 
in St James's, Piccadilly. From certain evidence in his 
will, it has been conjectured that he may have been of 
Italian extraction, and his name merely an anglicised 
form of Bianchi or Bianco. 

His widow succeeded to the business and continued to 
direct it ; its fashionable character being well maintained. 
In those days it was from White's that tickets for 
masquerades (Mr Comely 's in Soho Square and others) 
and even for the opera (then under Heidegger) were 

In the Rate Books, Elizabeth White is first set down as 
Widow White, then as Mrs White, and finally as Madame 
White, distinctions denoting gradually improved standing. 
She continued the management till some time between 
1725 and 1729, after which year her name disappears. In 
1730 John Arthur is entered as tenant. He, no doubt, 
had been previously associated with Mrs White in the 



business and, at her death or retirement, made 
arrangements to conduct it on his own account. 

Two years later (1732) he added to the premises the 
house he had formerly occupied, so that by this time the 
chocolate-house embraced three tenements the second, 
third and fourth houses below St James's Place. In 
the April of the following year occurred the fire which 
burned the place to the ground. The Daily Courant for 
the 30th of the month thus refers to the circumstance : 

"On Saturday morning, about four o'clock, a fire broke 
out at Mr Arthur's, at White's Chocolate House in St 
James's Street, which burnt with great violence, and in 
a short time entirely consumed that house with two others, 
and much damaged several others adjoining. Young 
Mr Arthur's wife leaped out of a window two pair of stairs 
upon a feather bed without much hurt. A fine collection 
of paintings belonging to Sir Andrew Fountaine, valued 
at 3000 at least, was entirely destroyed. His Majesty 
and the Prince of Wales were present about an hour, and 
encouraged the firemen and people to work at the engines, 
a guard being ordered from St James's to keep off the 
populace. His Majesty ordered twenty guineas among 
the firemen and others that worked the engines, and five 
guineas to the guard ; and the Prince ordered the firemen 
ten guineas." 

Apart from the notices of the event in the daily Press, 
the fire at White's has been perpetuated in pictorial art, for 
in The Rake's Progress Hogarth introduced the incident. In 
Plate 4 of the series it is indicated by the forked lightning 
striking the house from which hangs a sign with the word 
"White's " on it. This allusion, however, only occurs in 
the final state of the plate, which was greatly altered during 
the progress of engraving. It will be observed that this 
house is not the burnt-down White's, but Gaunt's coffee- 
house, to which the chocolate-house was temporarily 



removed. From this it has been conjectured that 
Hogarth had begun the plate before the fire, and that on 
its occurrence he took the opportunity of recording the 
event, and also of putting in the group of gambling boys 
(as a satiric touch in allusion to the play that had already 
become notorious at White's), a group not included in the 
original picture. 1 In Plate 6 of the same series another 
allusion is made to the fire, by the introduction of flames 
bursting from the wainscot, to which the gamblers, 
intent on their play, pay no heed. 

On 3rd May, Arthur inserted an advertisement in The 
Daily Post to the effect that he had " removed to Gaunt 's 
Coffee House, next the St James's Coffee House in St 
James's Street," and begging for the patronage there of 
his former supporters. 

The rebuilding of White's does not appear to have been 
completed till 1736, in which year Robert Arthur ("the 
young Mr Arthur " ; John, his father, having by this time 
died or retired) appears in the Rate Books as proprietor 
of the newly erected premises, which occupied the sites 
of the three houses already mentioned as having been 
gradually acquired. 

White's Club had already been formed, but owing to the 
fire all records of its institution are wanting. It has been 
conjectured that the date of its inception coincided with 
the removal of the Chocolate House to the west side of the 
street in 1697 ; but nothing is definitely known, and 
although hi 1736 Arthur drew up a set of fresh rules, 
probably from memory, he omitted, or was unable, to set 

1 As the engraving reversed the picture, the generality of the 
plates show White's on the wrong (east) side of the street. It is 
curious, however, that in the engraving copied from the oil paint- 
ing (which, by the by, is in the Soane Museum) , the word " White's " 
on the sign is left reversed ; that in looking at it, it reads back- 
wards. This is so in the excellent reproduction given in the 
History of White's, and is a point not before noticed, I think. 



down the exact date, or to reconstruct a list of the original 
members. In any case it seems fairly obvious that the 
Old Club was started in White's time ; the Young Club 
not coming into existence till 1743. 

The rules number ten. No one was to be admitted ex- 
cept by ballot ; one black ball excluded ; each member was 
to pay "a guinea a year towards having a good cook "; 
no one was to be admitted to dinner or supper unless he 
was a member ; supper was to be served at ten o'clock, and 
the bill brought at twelve, and no one was to be balloted 
for "but during the sitting of Parliament"; this last 
rule apparently introduced the political character which 
attached to the club in after days, although at this time 
it was essentially non-party, and admitted men of all 
shades of opinion so long as their loyalty to the Throne 
was unquestioned. 

The line was drawn, naturally, at Jacobites, although 
one or two of the earlier members might have been supposed 
to labour under some suspicion in this respect. The 
number of members in 1736 (when the existing records 
begin) was eighty-two. 

In the meantime the Chocolate House continued to 
flourish under Robert Arthur's management, and it seems 
to have been from its regular customers that the old Club 
was largely reinforced. "The first step towards becoming 
a member of the Old Club," writes Mr Bourke, "would be 
to be constantly in evidence at the Chocolate House, and 
among Arthur's customers were many men of good birth 
and social standing, anxious for election into the exclusive 
circle of the Old Club, but who found themselves debarred 
by that very exclusiveness for more years than they could 
afford to wait." This circumstance led to the formation 
of what was called the Young Club a kind of waiting- 
room or probationary stage to the older institution. 
This new departure was based on its prototype : its rules 



-" ^ 


I * 

2 I 

<" *5 


K ^J 


were practically the same ; its subscription was the same. 
That it was no easy matter to pass from one to the other 
is proved by the fact that so well known and popular a 
man as Selwyn took eight years to compass it, and that 
his friend Lord March (the " old Q " of later days) never 
got in at all, being rejected as a "foreigner," probably 
in allusion, as Mr Bourke suggests, to his prolonged stays 
in France. 

It was not till 1781 that the two sections of the Club 
were amalgamated and henceforth the allusions to the 
" Old " and " New " Club, which are so frequent in the 
letters of the period, 1 cease and " White's " takes their 
place. The correspondence of Horace Walpole is, as 
most of us know, full of references to White's, its members, 
its rules, manners and customs, its social and political 
activity, and anecdotes and bon-mots connected with it 
and its habitue. 

In 1755 2 both clubs moved from the west to the east 
side of the thoroughfare, and took up their quarters in the 
"Great House of St James's Street," with which the 
fortunes of White's have ever since been identified. 3 

This house (No. 87) had previously belonged to Sir 
Whistler Webster, and from him Arthur purchased the 
freehold. The place had already interesting associations. 
Here lived that Countess of Northumberland noted for 
the almost regal state she kept up, and of whom Walpole 
has recorded some interesting data. Henry, 2nd Duke 
of Beaufort was the tenant of the house in the early years 
of the eighteenth centuiy, and after him the Duchess 

1 See particularly the Selwyn correspondence. 

2 In 1750 Erasmus Mumford had published a "Letter to the 
Club at White's, in which are set forth the great Expediency of 
Repealing the Laws now in Force against Excessive Gambling, 

3 At this time the inclusive membership was three hundred and 



of Newcastle came to live there in 1716. Sir William 
Windham succeeded her, and was in turn followed (in 1721) 
by Sir Thomas Webster who, according to the Rate Books, 
appears to have owned the property. To it Sir Whistler 
Webster, his son, succeeded, and from him, as I have stated, 
it passed to Arthur. 

Having seen the club safely ensconced in its new home, 
Robert Arthur made over the management to Robert 
Mackreth, his whilom assistant, and subsequently his 
son-in-law. When Arthur died, in his house in St James's 
Place, in 1761, it was found that he had left his considerable 
property, including White's club-house and other belong- 
ings in the neighbourhood, to his daughter, Mary, and thus 
it passed into Mackreth 's hands. "Bob," as he was 
familiarly called, did not continue the management long, 
for in 1763 we find him sending the following letter 
(possibly a circular one) to Selwyn with regard to the 
change : 

April 5, 1763. 

Having quitted business entirely, and let my house 
to the Cherubim, who is my near relation, I humbly 
beg leave, after returning you my most grateful thanks 
for all favours, to recommend him to your patronage, not 
doubting, by the long experience I have had of his fidelity, 
that he will strenuously endeavour to oblige. 

I am, Sir, 
Your most dutiful and much obliged 

humble servant, R. MACKRETH. 

Who this mysterious " Cherubim " was has not been 
traced. Evidently, however, he had been an assistant 
of Mackreth, and was well known to the members. It 
has been affirmed that his name was Chambers, but why 



such an angelic name was given him, unless for some such 
reason as it was applied to the 10th Hussars, 1 is not clear. 
Seven years after his taking over the management we 
find the name of John Martindale as " The master of the 
house." He appears to have been a scion of a family 
which was, to use Mr Bourke's phrase, "engaged in minister- 
ing to the amusement of the upper classes in one way or 
another. " One of its members was a saddler in St James's 
Street, and made much money by his stud horse, Regulus ; 
another, Henry, kept a gaming-house, and was on one 
occasion fined, in company with the play-loving Lady 
Buckinghamshire and others, for so doing. John Martin- 
dale inaugurated his reign by whipping up subscriptions, 
many of which were as much as five years in arrears. As 
a consequence, certain resignations took place, the Duke 
of Rutland, Lord Chesterfield, Lord Holland and Lord 
Berkeley being among the seceders. Subscriptions to the 
Old Club were raised ; committees were formed to inquire 
into the working of the institution ; and, in short, a period 
of unrest set in. The fusion of the Old and New Clubs 
in 1781 may be regarded as putting the crowning touch 
to Martindale's schemes for improvement ; it certainly 
inaugurated a new era in the club's economic history. 
Its more public character may be said to have undergone 
a no less marked change two years later, when Pitt was 
elected a member, and White's passed for a time into 
a political centre of activity. This circumstance had a 
far-reaching effect ; it caused the secession of Fox and his 
friends, who henceforth set up their standard, both of play 
and politics, at Brooks 's, and thus led to the rivalry which 
existed for so many years between the two clubs. Many 
of the protagonists, such as Pitt himself and the Prince of 
Wales, were actually members of both, but they henceforth 

1 The wearing of trousers of a cherry colour by this regiment is 
said to have given rise to this atrocious pun. 
i 129 


identified themselves (if Pitt can be said ever to have 
gone so far as this) with one or other of the rival houses. 
Gillray 's famous caricature, entitled Promised Horrors of the 
French Invasion, dated 1796, shows the position taken up 
by Brooks and White and their members in the supposi- 
titious event. The partisans at the former are making 
good use of a guillotine placed on its balcony; from the 
balcony of the latter the bodies of illustrious members 
are hurled into the street, where Fox belabours Pitt at a 
whipping-post, and St James's Palace is burning furiously. 
A year after this Pitt's committee met at White's, and for 
the first time a standing committee of the club was elected. 
There is no necessity to recapitulate the various political 
events connected with White's during this period, for they 
largely enter into the history of the country, where allusions 
to them will be found. The more domestic side of the 
club's annals here chiefly concern us. The first landmark 
in these occurs in 1812, in which year Martindale gave up 
the management and was succeeded in it by George 
Raggett. The new proprietor had already had experience 
in the management of clubs, and he carried on his new 
venture with energy and astuteness. His waiting up till 
play was over, sweeping the floors for stray counters 
(often representing considerable amounts), and thus 
securing himself a decent income, is a fact recorded in 
one of his own statements. Under him the famous 
Bow Window became a feature of the club the shrine of 
Brummell and his set ; the terror of the debutantes passing 
down St James's Street to the Palace; the ceil de bceuf, 
so to term it, of fashion and gossip. Mr Bourke, referring 
to it, says : "The leaders of the inner circle of the club 
were its occupants, and to them it was tacitly relinquished 
by the rest. From members still living we learn that, 
within their memory, an ordinary frequenter of White's 
would as soon have thought of taking his seat on the throne 



W ^3 
en <u 


in the House of Lords as of appropriating one of the chairs 
in the bow window." It was the spot where questions "~ 
of etiquette were settled ; where reputations were made 
or marred ; where the social life of London was placed 
under the microscope and studied ; where characters were 
laid on the operating-table and dissected. Like Almack's, 
it became a tribunal as redoubtable as was ever erected 
under the Venetian Republic or the Inquisition of Spain. 
A few more dates bring us to our own times. In 1813 
the first Candidates' Book was opened ; six years later 
Mackreth (become Sir Robert) died, and with him, to 
some extent, died the older traditions of the club. In 1833 
excessive blackballing, which threatened to dislocate the 
institution altogether, led to a committee being appointed 
to take over the election of members for a period of one 
year. Under Raggett the club 's fortunes continued, after 
this event, to be prosperous. In 1843 he made his son 
Henry manager, and on his death in the following year 
Henry Raggett was duly confirmed in the position. Six 
years later Raggett found it necessary to suggest a change 
in the management apparently owing to the large amount 
of credit he was, following earlier custom, called upon to 
find but matters having been adjusted in this respect by 
the committee, he continued in his post till his death in 
1859, when there came to a close that system of manage- 
ment which carried with it the proprietorship of the club 
premises. The property now passed to Raggett's sisters, 
who, searching for a manager, found one in Mr Perceval, 
and in June 1859 that gentleman took up his duties at 
White's. It was under his regime that the great smoke 
question arose. Full details are given in The History 
of White's of this momentous event really momentous, 
because it ranged the members into separate camps, and 
was the initial cause of the formation, under the aegis of 
the late King Edward, of the Marlborough Club, which 


undoubtedly drew from White's many who would have 
added to its lustre and advantage. The struggle lasted 
from 1859 to 1866, and ended in the discomfiture of the 
"new school." In 1868 a proposal was made to purchase 
the club premises from the Misses Raggett, but as the 
estate was in Chancery the scheme came to nothing. In 
1870, however, circumstances had altered, and the owners 
were prepared to accept 60,000 for the freehold, but such 
a sum was not acceptable to the club. 1 

In 1876 the membership of White's, which had been 
previously increased at various times, was raised to six 
hundred, and five years later Mr Perceval obtained from 
Mr Eaton a lease of thirty years, at 3000. In the follow- 
ing year Perceval died, to be succeeded for six years 
by his son who carried on the premises on behalf of his 
mother. His management was not a marked success, and 
during this time the membership showed a great falling 

In July 1888, on the management of Perceval coming 
to an end, that post was taken up by the Hon. Algernon 
Bourke. With him drastic changes, both in the con- 
stitution and the premises of the club, took place. The 
building was reconstructed, with great advantage both 
to the ground and first floor. A lounge was created, 
the existing small billiard-room and other rooms were 
knocked into one, forming a large billiard-room, and other 
improvements were made. 

The result of the innovations, both in the constitution 
and building of White's, 2 has resulted in its once again 

1 Perceval held an unexpired lease of ten years, at a rental of 
2100. In 1871 the property was offered by auction, and was 
purchased by Mr Eaton, M.P. (afterwards Lord Cheylesmore), 
for ^46,000, and he refused to sell, although he offered to 
lease the club to the committee for twenty years at a rental of 


2 Its membership is now seven hundred and fifty. 



occupying that unique position which it held during the 
palmy days of the last two centuries. 

What the present club-house looked like in its earlier 
form may be seen from a view which shows its appear- 
ance till the year 1811, when many changes, including the 
introduction of the "Bow Window," were made. In - 
1850 the fa9ade was entirely remodelled after designs 
by Mr Lockyer, the bas-reliefs which ornament it being 
the work of George Scharf, and the old balcony replaced 
by the present more elaborate ironwork. 1 At this time 
much interior decoration was also carried out. 

Having thus briefly outlined the history of "White's," 
I pass for a moment to the references to it which will be 
found in contemporary literature. In Farquhar's Beauas's 
Stratagem (1707) it is referred to, and in Gay's Trivia 
the observant author notes that : 

"At White's the harnessed chairman idly stands, 
And swings around his waist his tingling hands." 

In The Tatter' 's initial number, which appeared in 1709, 
it is stated that " all accounts of gallantry, pleasure and 
entertainment shall be under the article of White's 
Chocolate House," and several of the papers bear the 
superscription of "White's." Addison, in his Prologue to 
Steele's Tender Husband, introduces the place thus : 

"To all his most frequented haunts resort, 
Oft dog him to the Ring, and oft to Court ; 
As love of pleasure, or of place invites : 
And sometimes catch him taking snuff at White's." 

1 M. Boutet de Monvel is not correct when he says that "on y 
voit toujours le balcon fameux oh tour a tour vinrent s'accouder 
Wellington, Brummell, et les dandies.'' By the by, he quotes Sir 
William Fraser, who records (in his Napoleon III.) Disraeli as 
saying that to obtain the Garter and to be elected at White's 
were the two supreme human distinctions. 

George Brummell et George I V. 



Pope has several references to White's, both in The 
Dunciad and The Moral Essays. In the former, satirising 
Colley Gibber, one of the members, he writes : 

" Or chain 'd at White's among the Doctors sit, 
Teach oaths to gamesters, and to nobles wit. " 

And also : 

" Familiar White's God save, King Colley cries, 
God save King Colley, Drury Lane replies." 

There is no doubt that Gibber's membership rather 
rankled in the breasts of less fortunate authors, and Pope 
was not a man to let slip an opportunity of laughing at 
what was regarded as a certain pretentiousness. In The 
Moral Essays it is the high play at the club that rouses 
the poet's ire and points his pen with the venom which 
ran to its tip so easily. Speaking of The Dunciad reminds 
me that one of those who fell under Pope's lash was Old- 
mixon, and Oldmixon is one of the writers who mentions 
"White's," for he tells in his Life of Arthur Mayntvaring 
how they retired to the little garden behind the house, 
in 1710, to discuss the question of the authorship of The 

In the correspondence of the period that of Swift and 
Walpole, Selwyn and his friends the allusions to White's 
are so numerous that a chapter might easily be filled with 
extracts. The diaries of the time are hardly less pro- 
ductive. Most of these contain information about gaming 
losses, references to that remarkable betting-book which 
Mr Bourke has reprinted in his second volume of the 
club's annals, and criticisms on the ways (often wonderful 
and fearful) of the members. 

"Had I whole counties, I to White's would go, 
And set land, woods, and rivers at a throw," 

exclaims Bramston's Man of Taste, and this might well be 



taken as the motto of a chapter on gambling at the club. 
The hazard table was as crowded there as it was at 
Brooks 's ; men lost and won fortunes at a sitting ; many 
of the most interesting letters in the Selwyn papers are 
sad records of the vast losses incurred by young Lord 
Carlisle in what he termed "the temple of Content." 1 
From the days of Fox and the politicians to that of 
Brummell and the dandies was one long sequence of high 
play and losses and gains, appalling even to our own age, 
accustomed to talk and think in millions. When Walpole 
and Selwyn and Gilly Williams, in the Gothic recesses 
of Strawberry Hill, composed their y famous coat-of-arms 
for the club, thejeu d'esprit might well have been regarded 
as a serious emblem of the place as serious as the gaming 
was considered by men who were not only leaders of social 
life, but were paramount in political circles. 2 The wagers, 
with which the members occupied apparently the scanty 
leisure snatched from the card tables, were of the most 
diverse and often of the most extraordinary character. 
The probable longevity of a famous man ; the possible 
matrimonial alliance of a beautiful woman ; the period at 
which a lady of fashion was likely to present her husband 
with an heir ; the chance of one man outliving another, 
or of some third party surviving both ; the probability 
of military successes, or of a well-known man subscribing 
to a young lady's benefit ; possibilities of engagements, 

1 Letter to Selwyn, 24th January 1768. 

2 It is thus described : " Vert (for card table) between two 
parolis proper on a chevron table ; (for hazard table) two rouleaus 
in saltire between two dice proper in a canton sable ; a white ball 
(for election) argent. Supporters : an old knave of Clubs on the 
dexter, a young knave on the sinister, side, both accoutred proper. 
Crest : issuing out of an Earl's coronet ; (Lord Darlington), an arm 
shaking a dice box, all proper. Motto (alluding to the crest) : 
Cogit amor mimmi. The arms encircled by a claret bottle ticket 
by way of order." 



elopements, marriages, deaths, jostle wagers on grave 
political or military and naval crises ; from a change in 
the Ministry to a change in the fashion of a frill nothing 
seems to have been too important or too trivial to give 
the opportunity for members to try to win, or risk losing, 

How many men gave up to hazard what was meant for 
mankind can be estimated by even a slight glance through 
the list of White's members. Anyone acquainted, even 
superficially, with the social and political history of the 
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, may take it as 
a fact that practically all the protagonists were at one 
time or another members of White's. Page after page 
might be filled with their illustrious or notorious names. 
The range is tremendous from Walpole and Bath to 
Pitt and Fox; from Wellington and Castlereagh to 
Melbourne and Palmerston ; all the great political leaders 
the Portlands, the Bedfords, the Devonshires are in- 
cluded; Horace Walpole and his set Selwyn and Gilly 
Williams, and Coventry, and "Old Q." to Brummell 
and his the Prince of Wales and Sheridan and the rest ; 
Heidegger the impresario and Bubb Dodington the 
sycophant; Colley Gibber the actor and Lord Clive 
the great proconsul ; Alvanley the wit ; Brettingham the 
architect of other people's houses, and Addington the 
founder of his own ; Sefton the gourmet, and Lord 
Chesterfield the glass of fashion; Luttrell, noted for his 
retorts, and Congreve, famous for his rockets. Here is but 
a handful, taken at random, as a sample, so to speak, of 
that crowd of illustrious ones whose feet have trod, and 
whose voices have echoed in, the rooms of White's club. 
There is hardly a spot in St James's Street which is not 
consecrated by some memory ; here memory on memory 
is accumulated in inexhaustible profusion. 

The stories and anecdotes told of the club and its 



members are hardly less bewildering in their number and 
variety. Walpole tells many of his diverting narratives 
as having had their origin here ; Selwyn's correspondents 
add their quota. These tales have become hackneyed 
by much quotation, and to give further currency to them 
would be in the nature of padding. The reviewer, who 
would be the first to deprecate the act, would also be the 
first to fill his review with the anecdotes. But he must find 
other means of judging this work than by the exploitation 
of such samples, for I utterly refuse to dish them up again. 

One or two circumstances connected with White's must, 
however, be added to the above short account of it. 
In the first place, it has been on various occasions con- 
nected with some notable festivities. In 1789 its members 
gave a great ball at The Pantheon to celebrate the recovery 
of George III. ; and in 1814 a still more elaborate fete \ 
to the Allied Sovereigns at Burlington House, which is 
said to have cost just on 10,000 ; the bill for the dinner 
to the Duke of Wellington, in the club itself, at the same 
time, ran to nearly 2500. These are among the more 
memorable entertainments given by White's. 

Again, although its members numbered among them 
so many illustrious people, there have been a few rather 
notable exceptions. Prince Louis Napoleon (afterwards 
Napoleon III.), although so intimately associated at one 
time with English society, was never a member ; neither 
was Count D'Orsay, whose profile pictures of so many 
members find a place in Mr Bourke's book ; nor was the 
great Lord Lytton. But the strangest omission is surely 
that of Disraeli, the shield and buckler of the party chiefly 
identified with White's, whose name does not appear in 
that comprehensive list, and whose strange rather mystical 
visage never gazed from the Heavenly Bow. 1 

1 See LuttrelTs Advice to Julia, 1820, p. 117. In a note the fact 
is mentioned that the bow window had then recently been enlarged. 


THE CLUBS continued 


IN the reign of Queen Anne one of the many chocolate- 
houses which were then established in London was 
called The Cocoa-Tree, and was opened on the west side 
of St James's Street. Like most of its competitors it was 
political, and the side it took is illustrated by Macky's 1 
remark that, " A Whig will no more go to The Cocoa-Tree 
or Ozinda's than a Tory will be seen at the coffee-house 
of St James's." On his own showing, Addison was not 
so restrictive in his haunts, and in No. 1 of The Spectator, 
remarks that his face was as well known at The Cocoa-Tree 
as it was at The Grecian or the St James's coffee-house. 
Whether or not The Cocoa-Tree was, as a chocolate-house, 
solely patronised by Tories is a question ; but it is certainly 
the case that when it was transformed into a club it became 
almost, if not quite, exclusively the headquarters of the 
Jacobites. Its metamorphosis took place during the 
early half of the eighteenth century 1746 having been 
given as its approximate date. An anecdote recorded by 
Walpole in a letter to George Montagu, dated 24th June 
of this year, relates that "The Duke (of Cumberland) 
has given Brigadier Mordaunt the Pretender's coach, on 
condition he rode up to London in it." "That I will, 
sir," said he, " and drive till it stops of its own accord at 
The Cocoa-Tree." This further illustrates the political 
complexion of the club. 

1 Journey through England, 1724. 


Among the many illustrious frequenters of The Cocoa- 
Tree tavern was Swift, who seems to have made it a rule 
to go there directly he arrived in England ; at least this 
assumption may, I think, be drawn from the following 
passage in a letter addressed to him by Prior, also a regular 
habitue, in 1717 : " I have been made to believe that we 
may see your reverend person this summer in England. 
If so, I shall be glad to meet you at any place ; but when 
you come to London do not go to The Cocoa-Tree, but 
come immediately to Duke Street, 1 where you shall find 
a bed, a book, and a candle." Two other frequenters of 
the tavern were Dr (afterwards Sir Richard) Garth, the 
physician-poet, and Nicholas Rowe, the dramatist, and 
an anecdote has survived concerning these two at what 
was a veritable wits' tavern. 

Dr Garth was on one occasion sitting in the coffee-room, 
talking to two "persons of quality," when Rowe, who was 
as attentive to the great as he was inattentive to his dress, 
entered. Sitting down in a box opposite that occupied 
by the Doctor and his friends, he began to try to catch his 
brother poet's eye, as the saying is. Not being successful, 
he at length asked the waiter to desire for him the loan 
of Garth's snuff-box, a very handsome one, and the gift 
of a royal person. Taking a pinch from it he returned it, 
but a little later asked for it again the object, of course, 
being to attract attention, and to show the others present 
that he was also acquainted with its owner. Garth, who 
knew his foible and saw through the manoeuvre, took a 
pencil and wrote on the lid the two Greek characters 
</> and p "Fie! Rowe!" The mortified poet took the 
hint, and soon after retired in dudgeon. 

There is another well-known story connected with this 

club. One of the waiters, named Samuel Spring, having 

to write to the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV.), 

1 Afterwards Delahay Street, Westminster. 



began his epistle thus : " Sam, the waiter at The 
Cocoa-Tree, presents his compliments to the Prince of 
Wales, etc. " The next day the Prince called at the club 
and said to Sam : " Sam, this may be very well between 
you and me, but it will not do with the Norfolks and 

The importance of The Cocoa-Tree as a chocolate-house 
is indicated by the fact that Defoe mentions it first in a 
list of such haunts where, in 1703, the members of the 
beau monde were wont to assemble in the morning to 
drink their favourite beverages and exchange the news. 

After its conversion into a club it seems to have fully 
sustained its earlier fashionable and political reputation, 
and when Lord Bute came into power, in 1761, it was then 
generally regarded as the "Ministerial Club." One of 
its members was no less a person than Gibbon, and an 
entry in his diary for 1762 contains this allusion to the 
place : 

' * I dined at The Cocoa-Tree with Holt. We went thence 
to the play, and when it was over returned to The Cocoa- 
Tree. That respectable body, of which I have the honour 
of being a member, affords every evening a sight truly 
English twenty or thirty perhaps of the finest men in 
the kingdom, in point of fashion and fortune, supping 
at little tables covered with a napkin, in the middle of 
a coffee-house, upon a bit of cold meat and a sandwich, 
and drinking a glass of punch. At present we are full 
of King's Counsellors and lords of the bed-chamber, who, 
having jumped into the Ministry, make a very singular 
medley 'of their old principles and languages with their 
modern ones." 

It can well be imagined at such a time when bribery 
was rampant, and men were bought and sold with a 
venality recalling Sir Robert Walpole's famous phrase, 
that the clubs and coffee-houses were the centres of this 



kind of traffic, and that The Cocoa-Tree, from its fashionable 
and political character, was one of the hotbeds of this form 
of marketing. In the Chatham correspondence a thinly 
veiled allusion to it can be detected in the following 
passage: "The Cocoa-Tree have thus capacitated Her 
Royal Highness (the Princess-Dowager of Wales) to be 
Regent : it is well they have not given us a king, if 
they have not ; for many think Lord Bute is King. " 

After a time high play was a feature of The Cocoa-Tree, 
as it was of so many of the eighteenth- and early nineteenth- 
century clubs. That this was a legacy from their earlier 
form as coffee-houses is proved by the remark of Roger 
North that : " The use of coffee-houses seems much im- 
proved by a new invention called chocolate-houses, for 
the benefit of rooks and cullies of quality, where gaming 
is added to all the rest ; as if the devil had erected a new 
university, and those were the colleges of its professors, 
as well as his school of discipline. " 

In the pages of Walpole and other contemporary writers 
are various references to the high play that took place at 
The Cocoa-Tree. The following anecdote, given in a 
letter from Walpole to Mann, and dated 8th February 
1780, is well known, but will bear repeating : 

" Within this week there has been a cast at hazard at 
The Cocoa-Tree, the difference of which amounted to one 
hundred and fourscore thousand pounds. Mr O'Birne, 
an Irish gamester, had won one hundred thousand 
pounds of Mr Harvey of Chigwell just started into an 
estate by his elder brother's death. O'Birne said : ' You 
can never pay me.' 'I can,' said the youth, 'my estate 
will sell for the debt.' 'No,' said O., 'I will win ten 
thousand you shall throw for the odd ninety.' They 
did, and Harvey won." Ten years earlier Walpole 
records how "Lord Stavordale, not one and twenty, 
lost (at The Cocoa-Tree) eleven thousand last Tuesday, 



but recovered it by one great hand at hazard. He swore 
a great oath : ' Now, if I had been playing deep, I might 
have won millions. ' ' 

In those days Selwyn was a constant habitue of the club, 
and here he uttered not a few of those apt retorts with 
which he was able to confound his adversaries, and also 
to show that there was a shrewd and able mind beneath 
the insouciant manner of a man of ton. Another fre- 
quenter was the Duke of Norfolk, the "jockey," familiar 
to readers of Creevey and other contemporary diarists ; and 
it was at The Cocoa-tree, in 1783, that he remarked that it 
had been his intention to commemorate the tercentenary 
of his dukedom by inviting to a feast all the descendants 
of the first duke, but that he found that nearly six 
thousand persons claimed that honour, and that he felt 
sure more existed, and so gave up his design. Here, too, 
it was that Dunning and Dr Brocklesby were one evening 
discussing the superfluities of life, when Selwyn silenced 
the argument by its application ad hominem thus : 
"Very true, gentlemen; I am myself an example of the 
justice of your reanlrks, for I have lived nearly all my 
life without wanting either a lawyer or a physician." 

When, in 1803, Sheridan resisted the claims of the Prince 
of Wales to be nominated to a high military command it 
was supposed that the Prince's enmity would have been 
of considerable duration. Fox's astonishment may there- 
fore well be imagined when he heard that the two were 
dining and "getting drunk tete-d-tete " at the very moment 
when he was writing his letter to the Heir-Apparent on the 
subject. The scene of the dinner was The Cocoa-Tree, as 
is stated by Russell in his Memorials of Fox. 1 

One of the club's most illustrious later members was 
Byron, and among the references to it in his letters I give 
the following as a sample of the manners and customs of a 

1 Quoted in Jesse's George III., vol. Hi., p. 334. 


hundred years ago. Addressed to Moore and dated 9th 
April 1814 the letter contains this passage : 

"I have also been drinking, and on one occasion, with 
three other friends of The Cocoa-Tree, from six till four, 
yea, five in the matin. We clareted and champagned till 
two, then supped, and finished with a kind of Regency 
punch, composed of Madeira, brandy and green tea, no 
real water being admitted therein. There was a night 
for you ! without once quitting the table, except to am- 
bulate home, which I did alone, and in utter contempt 
of a hackney coach and my own vis, both of which were 
deemed necessary for our conveyance." 

The head waiter at The Cocoa-Tree was Robert Mac- 
raith (or Mackreth), who was a persona grata with the 
members and was invariably called Bob. He prospered 
exceedingly, and afterwards, through marriage with 
Arthur's only child, became, as we have seen, connected 
with the future of White's. 

One must not forget that it was at The Cocoa-Tree that 
Harry Esmond cracked his bottle with Mr St John, as he 
told the Dowager Lady Castlewood on one occasion. 1 

The next club in point of date is : 


Its well-known Adam front, the most interesting archi- 
tectural object in St James's Street, is situated at No. 28. 
It was formed in 1762, and was originally known as the 
"Savoir Vivre," but later, like White's and Brooks 's, 
took the name of its founder. The present club-house 
was built by John Crunden in 1765, and Robert Adam 
designed it. Between 1821 and 1824, however, alterations, 

1 In December 1919 a portion of The Cocoa-Tree Club, together 
with stables and garages abutting on Blue Ball Yard, was offered 
by auction. 

including the addition of a reading-room, were made 
to the building, under the^tlirection of John Papworth, 
the architect. 1 

During the early part of its existence Boodle's was 
notable for the elaborate nature of its entertainments, and 
Gibbon, who was one of its illustrious members, mentions 
a masquerade given by its members in 1774 which cost no 
less than two thousand guineas. The Heroic Epistle to 
Sir William Chambers, published in the previous year, 
also contains some lines bearing on the subject, and notes 

"... Some John his dull invention racks 
To rival Boodle's dinners or Almack's." 

Under its earlier name the club is also mentioned in the 
lampoon addressed to the Duke of Queensberry, when 
that old rake was supposed to be on the point of marrying 
Lady Henrietta Stanhope: 

"Consult the equestrian bard,wise Chiron Beever, 

Or Dr Heber's learned Sybil leaves, 
And they, true members of the Savoir Vivre, 
Will tell the wondrous things that love receives." 

The date of the letter to which the above is appended 
as a footnote in Jesse's Selwyn and his Contemporaries, is 
1780. Just ten years earlier an interesting passage in one 
of Mrs Harris's letters to her son, the Earl of Malmesbury, 
gives us another glimpse of the club, and incidentally goes 
to show that its name of Savoir Vivre was probably given 
it in addition to that of Boodle's, as we here find the club 
referred to so soon after its formation under the latter 

1 Timbs says that Holland designed the club-house, but this 
is obviously incorrect. Holland may, conceivably, have been 
employed at some time to alter it. 



" 12th May 1770. A new assembly or meeting is set up 
at Boodle's, called Lloyd's Coffee-room ; Miss Lloyd, whom 
you have seen with Lady Pembroke, being the sole in- 
ventor. They meet every morning, either to play cards, 
chat, or do whatever else they please. An ordinary is 
provided for as many as choose to dine, and a supper to 
be constantly on the table by eleven at night ; after supper 
they play loo. ... I think there are twenty-six sub- 
scribers, others are to be chosen by ballot ; my intelli- 
gence is that the Duchess of Bedford and Lord March 
have been blackballed ; this I cannot account for." 

Boodle's was regarded as essentially the country gentle- 
man's club at a time when that section of society wielded 
no little political power, and there was a saying current 
that " Every Sir John belongs to Boodle's, and that when 
a waiter comes into the room and says to some aged 
student of The Morning Herald, ' Sir John, your servant 
has come,' every head is mechanically thrown up in 
answer to the address." It would seem, too, that Shrop- 
shire is a county which has provided it with a particularly 
large number of its members. But it has had many who 
cannot boast of being Salopians Charles James Fox and 
Gibbon and Wilberforoe, inter olios. Sir Frank Standish 
was also a member, and has been immortalised by Gillray 
(who lived next door to the club-house, at No. 29) in his 
caricature entitled A Standing Dish at Boodle's. 

For many years the proprietor was Mr Gaynor, an 
amiable, large-hearted, open-handed man, to whom not a 
few members were indebted for financial assistance. He 
always kept a large amount of cash in his safe, and at his 
death is said to have been owed no less than 10,000, 
which, however, by a clause in his will, was not to be de- 
manded from the borrowers. Mr Gaynor used to preside 
personally over the election of candidates, and apparently 
anyone whom he approved got in, regardless of blackballs. 

K 145 


In a word, he seems to have ruled his society with an 
autocratic but withal just and discriminating sway ; and 
when the mysterious " By order of the Managers " occa- 
sionally appeared beneath some rule on the notice-board, 
"the custom of the house existing from time immemorial," 
was implicitly bowed down to by those who would have 
been hard put to it to say who the managers actually were, 
or by what rules their powers existed. In this respect 
Boodle's was sui generis. Once, however, defection took 
place when, because of a determination on Mr Gaynor's 
part to change an old-standing custom, the late Duke of 
Beaufort and other influential members of the old school 
resigned in a body. 

After Mr Gaynor's death his sister succeeded him in the 
proprietorship. She died in 1896, and a crisis thereupon 
arose in the club's history. However, by the united 
exertions of certain of its members it was reconstituted on 
more modern lines, and bids fair to have a future existence 
comparable with its lengthy successful career in the past. 
At one time hunting and turf disputes were largely settled 
here, but Tattersall's has taken its place in such arbitra- 
tions. But it still remains the club of M.F.H.'s, and the 
memory of such a prominent one as George Lane Fox is as 
green here as is that of the easy-going Charles James Fox l 
or the dignified Mr Gibbon. 


The history of Brooks 's is the political history of the 
country, from one point of view, during the latter half of 
the eighteenth century onwards, or until the essentially 
party clubs in Pall Mall to some extent took over the 
burden. A volume might be written on the club as a 
centre of Whiggism and Liberalism. In such a history 
1 There used to be a portrait of Fox here, but it has disappeared. 



the great names of Fox and Sheridan would stand out 
prominently, even among the crowd of illustrious states- 
men who have belonged to Brooks 's, and whose political 
activities have been so closely identified with the club as 
to place it in the position of a handmaid to one side of the 
House of Commons. It is because the annals of Brooks's 
are so interwoven with those of the country during the 
period indicated that it enters into the history of our 
land more intimately than does any other similar society. 
Sir George Trevelyan does not overstate the fact when he 
calls it "the most famous political club that will ever have 
existed in England "* ; and although its origin, like that of 
most of the earlier clubs, was not political (as we can see by 
the collocation, as members, of such men as the Duke of 
Grafton and the Duke of Richmond, Lord Weymouth and 
the Duke of Portland), it speedily became the headquarters 
of Liberal opinion. But it must not be supposed that 
this made any difference to its character as a gaming 
place. On the contrary, the politician, jaded with parlia- 
mentary labours, came here to be equally jaded by the ex- 
citement of gambling ; and it may with truth be asserted 
that (to take a notable instance) what Fox gave to the 
club by his personality and his genius he lost there in the 
feverish exaltations of the faro table. That great man, 
whose very failings were on the stupendous scale of his 
intellect, may be said (so to parody a well-known line) to 
have given to Brooks's what was meant for mankind. 
The story of his vast losses (his gains at hazard were as 
inconsiderable as they might have been great had he kept 
to whist or any other game where brains tell) is well 
known ; the diaries and reminiscences of the period teem 
with allusions to, and full descriptions of, them. In an age 
of gaming he stood out prominently, just as in an age of 
notable men he was facile princeps. Had his passions been 

1 The Early History of Charles James Fox. 

as well under control as were (to instance his greatest 
compeer) those of Pitt, he might have even surpassed 
that extraordinary man, and would assuredly have come 
to be regarded as the greatest political genius produced 
by that teeming century. As it was, he may be compared, 
mutatis mutandis, with Coleridge, for genius stultified by 
self-indulgence, and for almost divine gifts thrown away 
through a fatal lack of concentrative power. 

Not less than this could here be said of the most 
illustrious member of the club which is known as Brooks 's ; 
but it is the history of that institution rather than that of 
its members with which these pages are chiefly concerned, 
and we must turn to that aspect of the subject. 

A substantial quarto volume has been compiled, dealing 
with the annals of Brooks's l ; its frontispiece is, appro- 
priately, an admirable portrait in crayon, after William 
Russell, of Fox, the original of which is in the possession of 
the club. The bulk of the book is occupied by a catalogue 
raisonnee (so to term it) of its members from the founda- 
tion till the year 1900. Some full and valuable appendices 
give further information with regard to the more notable 
members, in a racy way, which will well repay perusal. 
These appendices range from a short account of the great 
ball commemorating the recovery of George III. in 1789, 
to Lord Granville's famous " appeal " in 1887, when 
political discord, consequent on Gladstone's Home Rule 
Bill, threatened to endanger even the sacred existence of 
Brooks's. Prefixed to the list of members is an Introduc- 
tion, in which are incorporated such data as go to make 
up the history of the club. From this and other sources 
I have liberally helped myself. 

We must go beyond St James's Street for the origin of 

Brooks's, for in 1764 a club, kept by Macall (whose 

anagram Almack is better known), and founded by twenty- 

1 Memorials of Brooks's, 1907. 



seven noblemen and gentlemen, was established in Pall 
Mall, on the site of what was later the British Institution. 
Among its rules were the following : that (No. 21) no 
gaming should take place in the eating-room, except toss- 
ing up for reckonings, on penalty of paying the whole bill 
of the members present ; that (No. 22) dinner should be 
served exactly at half-past four ; that (No. 26) Almack was 
not to be permitted to sell any wine in bottles approved 
of by members out of the house * ; that (No. 30) any 
member becoming a candidate for any other club (White's 
only excepted) should have his name struck off the books 
of Brooks 's. And there were other rules which seem 
speedily to have been disregarded ; for instance, that 
members gambling should have certain stated sums in 
cash by them for that purpose. As a matter of fact, 
credit soon became the order of the day, and when Brooks 
took over the management his resources were frequently 
called upon to supply members with ready money. Some 
idea of the extent of the play here may be gained from the 
following note against the name of Mr Thynne in the club 
books: "Mr Thynne, having won only 12,000 guineas 
during the last two months, retired in disgust, 21st March 
1772." This was evidently written by one of his victims, 
who has added : "And that he may never return is the 
ardent wish of members." 

During its earlier days the club was known as Almack 's, 2 
and soon became notable for its high play, many references 
to which are scattered through the letters of Walpole and 
those who kept up such a frequent correspondence with 
Selwyn. Apparently the first extant reference to the club 
occurs in a letter from Lord March to Selwyn, dated July 

1 Almack was a wine merchant, which accounts for this rule. 

2 Almack, in the year following the establishment of the club, 
opened his better remembered Assembly Rooms in King Street, 
which had such a long and prosperous career. 



1765, wherein the writer, sympathising with Selwyn over 
some monetary losses, remarks: "Almack's or White's 
will bring all back again." 

When exactly Brooks took over the management of the 
club is not quite certain, but his name first appears in a 
letter from Storer to Selwyn, dated 6th August 1774. 
Notwithstanding this, however, the name of Almack 
seems to have still been used till 1778, in which year the 
club was moved to No. 60 St James's Street, and took up 
its quarters in the house built, at Brooks 's expense, from 
designs by Henry Holland, the architect. Here it was 
opened in October 1778, and Thomas Townshend (after- 
wards Viscount Sydney), writing to Selwyn in that month, 
remarks : " As a proof of our increasing opulence, I need 
only show the Opera House . . . and Brooks 's new house, 
fitted up with great magnificence, which is to be opened 
in a week or ten days." 

Apparently the play there was so fast and furious that 
it threatened to break up the club. Hare, writing to 
Selwyn on 8th May 1779, says : "We are all beggars at 
Brooks 's, and he threatens to leave the house, as it yields 
him no profit," which gives point to TiekelFs lines : 

"... liberal Brookes, whose speculative skill 
Is hasty credit and a distant bill ; 
Who, nursed in clubs, disdains a vulgar trade, 
Exults to trust, and blushes to be paid." 

A man with such a temperament, and more sober records 
confirm poetical exaggeration, must, indeed, have found it 
difficult to run an expensive club under these conditions 
conditions proved over and over again by the correspond- 
ence of the period, when nearly every high-born letter- 
writer complains of his impecuniosity owing to gambling, 
or has some similar tale to tell of his friends. Brooks 's 
threat to resign in 1779 was not an idle one, for after 



eight years of management he did give it up, and died in 
poverty in 1782, leaving a name as well known as any in 
the social and political annals of the eighteenth century. 
There was a tradition, based on his impoverished circum- 
stances, but on nothing else, that in order to evade the 
rapacity of his creditors his body was buried in a small 
vault beneath the pavement of St James's Street, close to 
the club of which he had for a time been the " patron." 

The drawing which Rowlandson made of the card-room 
atBrooks's (now in the club's possession), and the illustra- 
tion of it by R. Cruikshank in The. English Spy, give a 
good idea of a scene that was so familiar to most of the 
fashionable gamesters of the period. But it was not only 
at the faro table or at any of the card games played then 
that members of Brooks 's lost their money. The memorial 
of another form of gambling is extant in the Betting Book, 
a volume on which Sir George Trevelyan has written 
eloquently, and which forms a companion to the similar 
record kept among the archives of " White's." The bets 
are of all kinds, for all sorts of sums, and on every conceiv- 
able subject. " Fifty guineas that Thurlow gets a Fellow- 
ship of the Exchequer for his son ; fifty guineas that 
Mademoiselle Heinel does not dance at the Opera House 
next winter ; fifty guineas that two thousand people were 
at the Pantheon last evening ; fifty guineas that Lord 
Ilchester gives his first vote in Opposition, and hits eight 
out of his first ten pheasants ; five guineas down, to 
receive a hundred if the Duke of Queensberry dies before 
half-an-hour after five in the afternoon of the twenty- 
seventh of June 1773." 1 Such are some of the wagers 
which are to be found, together with others less easily 
transcribable, in the betting book of Brooks 's. 

After the death of Brooks, one Griffin succeeded as 
manager. His name remains till 1815, although some 

1 Early History oj Fox. 


twelve years after his advent, notably in 1795, a kind 
of supervisory board was formed, the first members so 
elected being the Earl of Upper Ossory, Lord Romney, 
Lord Robert Spencer, Sir Thomas Miller, and Mr Crawle. 
The acting manager or "master " of the club seems to 
have henceforth worked in conjunction with this board 
of control, which was changed yearly, each retiring 
member naming a successor. After 1795 we find the 
management denominated as "Griffin & Co." At 
some time subsequent to 1815 one Wheelwright suc- 
ceeded to Griffin's place. Wheelwright took Halse into 
partnership in 1824, and retired seven years later. 
Halse was then joined by Henry Banderet. When the 
former retired in 1846 he received 500 from the 
club for his interest in the unexpired lease of the house, 
and fifty guineas for the surrender of his lodging there. 
Banderet remained on, and it is said that the well-known 
remark that being in the club was " like dining hi a Duke's 
house with the Duke lying dead upstairs " was largely due 
to his having established in Brooks's that air of solemn 
yet comfortable refinement which distinguishes it. It 
is related of Banderet that during the thirty-four years of 
his connection with the club he had never been absent 
except on one occasion, when he was induced to start on 
a holiday, but found himself so miserable away from the 
place that he was back there long before the day was over. 
At his death the management was undertaken by a com- 
mittee of the club and has ever since been so carried on. l 

Of the actual club-house, I have already mentioned the 
erection and a contemporary reference to its internal 
magnificence, as a result of which it was found necessary 

1 These details, and others affecting the internal economy of the 
club, will be found in the excellent and highly valuable volume 
to which I have already referred in the text The Memorials of 



to double the subscription. In 1804 the club was within 
an ace of leaving St James's Street. It appears that one 
of the waiters, George Redder, with a view to being taken 
into partnership by Griffin, purchased the lease of the 
building and refused to give it up "for any pecuniary 
consideration whatever, but solely on his being admitted 
into a share of the house." So effectively did he appear 
to wield the whip-hand that Griffin was, perforce, obliged 
to look out for other premises, and had actually opened 
negotiations for the Duke of Leeds' residence, No. 21 
St James's Square, and afterwards for a house in Bond 
Street, when Redder, having been dismissed, carne to his 
senses and gave in. In 1815 Griffin & Co. largely 
reconstructed the premises in St James's Street, and an 
additional guinea was added to the members' subscrip- 
tions in consequence. Further improvements were made 
in 1823 and again in 1846, and in 1857 the club-house 
was enlarged iby the addition to it of No. 2 Park 
Place, which was purchased from the executors of a 
Mr Bidwell for 5600 odd. It appears that the library 
was transferred to the new premises, but that otherwise 
they were occupied as a private house by Banderet till his 
death in 1880. A.S a matter of fact, Banderet had himself 
held the lease of the original club-house from 1854, the 
landlord being Mr Haldimand ; but in that year the latter 
sold it to the club for 25,000. In 1889-1890 a great im- 
provement to the club was effected by the regular incor- 
poration of No. 2 Park Place in it. By this a much more 
commodious library was gained, and various other drastic 
alterations were possible, making for the enhanced con- 
venience of the members. 

Brooks's is unique, 1 believe, in containing a club within 
a club, for here "The Fox Club " was instituted in memory 
of the great man with whom the present institution is so 
indissolubly connected. In Brooks's "great room" its 



meetings are held, and although no speeches are allowed, 
certain toasts, four in number, the first of them being, 
" In the Memory of Charles James Fox," are given at the 
annual dinners, their key-note being Fox and Reform. 

In a club like Brooks 's it may well be imagined that 
there is no lack of anecdotes connected with its members. 
Practically all these ana have, however, been repeated so 
often, and are so well known by this time, that a recapitula- 
tion of them, other than in the most allusive form, would 
be supererogatory. Here it was that Wilberforce, fresh 
to London life, came and played faro, to be warned by a 
zealous friend, who, in his turn, was expressively bidden 
by Selwyn, " who kept the bank, not to interrupt Mr 
Wilberforce, who could not be better employed " ; here 
George, Prince of Wales, enunciated a certain theory of 
Dr Darwin's, only to have it killed by the apt ridicule of 
Sheridan ; here Sherry retorted in an extempore couplet, 
on Whitbread, the brewer's denunciation of the malt 
tax ; Sir Philip Francis, well sustaining the character of 
"Brutus " given him by Rogers, here once made the 
retort to Roger Wilbraham apropos of Government 
rewards, which is famous ; it was at B rooks 's that Fox 
and Fitzpatrick played cards on one occasion from ten at 
night to six in the morning, with a waiter standing by to 
tell the sleepy gamesters whose deal it was ; Fox, too, it 
was who, having lost his last shilling, here, at faro, was 
found the next morning by Topham Beauclerk, not in 
despair, but calmly reading Herodotus. Foxiana is, of 
course, the backbone of the Brooks 's anecdotes Fox, 
comfortably settling himself to sleep, with his head resting 
on the card table where he had lost a fortune ; Fox 
twitting Adams about Government powder, which led to a 
famous duel, when, at the harmless close of the encounter, 
the wit remarked: "Adams, you'd have killed me if it 
had not been Government powder " ; Fox, once and once 



only, rising from the gambling table a winner of a large 
sum, most of which he paid away to his creditors and lost 
the rest again almost immediately. But besides Fox we 
have tales of other celebrities : Sheridan and the story of his 
forced election, and how his opponents, Lord Bessborough 
and George Selwyn, were hoaxed into absence from the 
ballot, and his candidature thus made secure, the Prince 
of Wales being a principal in the ruse. "Fighting" 
Fitzgerald and the even more exciting incident of his 
election forced on members terrorised by the Irish bully 
and fire-eater ; Alderman Combe administering a well- 
deserved retort to that impudent puppy Brummell ; 
the Duke of Devonshire coming to the club every night 
to partake of a supper of broiled blade-bone of mutton ; 
Poodle Byng autocratically rebuking a new member for 
lighting a cigar under the balcony 1 of the club-house; 
Raikes, long a member, but for the first time entering the 
club in the wake of Brougham for the purpose of insulting 
hmi a proceeding which nearly resulted in a duel ; and, 
to make somewhere an end, the Duke of York, with certain 
boon companions, in a drunken frolic, breaking into the 
club-house at three o'clock in the morning, and destroying 
as much in the way of furniture, etc., as they could, before 
peace was established. 

Among the members' names will be seen that of Mr 
Benjamin Bathurst, who was elected in May 1808. He 
connects Brooks 's with one of the strangest and most 
mysterious incidents of the time, for that gentleman, 
bound on a mission to Vienna in 1809, set out and was 
never heard of again. Whether he fell a victim to 
Napoleon's malignity, as has been surmised, has never 
been satisfactorily established, but a skeleton found in the 
wood of Quitznow (a place on his return route), so recently 
as 1910 was supposed to be that of the ill-fated envoy. 
1 This no longer exists, of course. 


Among other illustrious members of Brooks 's may be 
mentioned Gibbon, elected in 1777 ; Burke, Hume, 
Horace Walpole, Garrick, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Lord 
Campbell, who considered it, and rightly, a high honour to 
belong to the club ; Palmerston, and one of its few Radical 
members, Daniel O 'Connell. The first Lord Crewe, who died 
in 1829, and had been connected with the club for sixty- 
five years, was the last survivor of the original members. 


The year after the establishment of Brooks 's saw the 
formation of Arthur's. The fact that in its earliest days 
White's was often referred to as "Arthur's," on account 
of its having been run by Mr Arthur, 1 has led to the 
erroneous supposition that there was a connecting link 
between the two. This does not appear to have been the 
case. When the first White's was burnt down in 1733, 
Arthur removed elsewhere, as is indicated by an adver- 
tisement in The Daily Post, for 3rd May of that year. 
Subsequently a new club was formed, with its premises 
occupying the site of the original White's (or Arthur's) 
Chocolate House, and apparently took the name of 
Arthur's, from this circumstance and from this only. 

After the fire at White's the house was rebuilt and was 
occupied by the club, till 1755, when it went to its present 
position on the other side of the street. Some ten years 
after, "Arthur's " was established in its old premises. It 
appears that Arthur's club-house remained in its original 
form till 1825, when the present structure was erected 
from the designs of Mr Hopper. No doubt some of the 
earlier building was incorporated in the new work, and a 
ground-floor room at the back is even yet, traditionally, 
known as the old gaming-room of White's, although its 
decorations have been modernised. The present club 
1 See account of White's. 


preserves its old restrictions as to smoking in the library 
and morning-room, but as it possesses a fine lounge-hall, 
where tobacco is not banned, this disability is not of 

Arthur's has always been something of a country 
gentleman's club, and preserves many characteristics 
of those earlier days when, according to Mr Ralph 
Nevill, 1 " sheep points and bullocks on the rubber " was 
a not uncommon form of betting. 

For the rest, Arthur's is much in the position of a 
country whose annals are not tempestuous or particularly 
notable, and, as such, may, according to the old saying, 
be accounted happy. At any rate, its classic facade 
is not by any means the least attractive feature in St 
James's Street. 


If we relied solely on The Thatched House as a club 
for interesting data, we should be hard put to it to fill 
a page with facts concerning it. For it has existed in 
this capacity only from 1865, and thus presents the 
anomaly of one of the younger clubs with a name that 
carries us back to the days when St James's Street was yet, 
if not exactly in the fields, at least characterised by those 
rural attributes which are to-day so alien to it. The club, 
however, takes its name from, and stands on the later 
site of, The Thatched House Tavern. This tavern had 
two periods of existence, so to speak : the first, from its 
establishment till 1843, when it occupied the site on 
which stands to-day the Conservative Club (founded in 
1840,. at 74 St James's Street) ; and the second, from 1845 
to 1865, when it was settled at No. 86. I should mention 
that on the closing of the tavern in the latter year the 
Civil Service Club took over its premises, which very soon 
1 London Clubs. 


after became the home of The Thatched House Club, with 
the Thatched House Chambers built adjoining. 

The Thatched House Tavern, from which the club 
takes its name, occupied a considerable area of irregular 
outline, with a good frontage to St James's Street, 
and an alley, known as Thatched House Court, 
ran by the side of it and opened into Park Place. In 
Chawner's plan of St James's, dated 1834, the old 
Thatched House is shown lying back from the road- 
way, on ground which, with certain other tenements 
to its north, is now occupied by the Conservative 
Club. In this plan a smaller house next to it, on its 
south side, is marked as the new Thatched House, and it 
is on the site of the latter that the club of this name now 
stands. The original Thatched House Tavern, so far as 
its site is concerned, is thus the predecessor rather of the 
Conservative Club than of The Thatched House Club. 

The old tavern obviously took its rustic name from 
the character of its roof. When it was first erected is a 
question, but it seems pretty clear that it must have dated 
from the period when the Duchess of Cleveland sold a 
portion of the grounds of Cleveland House for building 
purposes. It may, indeed, have been a summer-house 
belonging to the mansion enlarged and adapted to the 
purposes of a tavern, and hence its rustic character pre- 
served. In any case, Cleveland House (then Berkshire 
House) was erected about 1630, and the portion of its 
grounds on which The Thatched House Tavern subse- 
quently stood was sold by the Duchess during the latter 
part of Charles II. 's reign. Roughly, then, the establish- 
ment of the tavern may be dated from about this period. 
One of its more illustrious frequenters was the ubiquitous 
Dick Steele, and we may be quite certain that Addison 
was another, but Swift was, according to his Journal to 
Stella, a still more assiduous visitor here. On 27th 


December we find him entertaining the " Society " to 
which he belonged at dinner here, when "brother 
Bathurst sent for wine, the house affording none." On 
the previous 20th of December he had written : "I 
dined, you know, with our Society, and that odious 
Secretary would make me President next week ; so I 
must entertain them this day se'nnight at The Thatched 
House Tavern. " The dinner cost him no less than seven 
guineas, which he paid on the following 2nd January 
" to the fellow at the tavern where I treated the Society." 
Five days later he tells Stella that he had that morning 
been " to give the Duke of Ormond notice of the honour 
done him to make him one of our Society, and to invite 
him on Thursday next to The Thatched House." The 
10th was the day fixed, but the Duke could not be present, 
having received a command to dine with Prince Eugene. 
In Swift's Birthday Verses on Mr Ford, the tavern is 
indirectly referred to in the couplet : 

"The Deanery House may well be match'd, 
Under correction, with the Thatch'd." 

Although in London Past and Present it is stated that 
the tavern stood from 1711 on the site of the Conservative 
Club, yet it is, as I have before surmised, of earlier origin, 
for Charles Gildon, who wrote The Complete Art of Poetry 
and other forgotten pieces, places a scene in his Com- 
parison between the Two Stages, published in 1702, at The 
Thatched House Tavern. 1 

Apart from its daily use as a tavern, or ale-house, as 
Lord Thurlow once denominated it, The Thatched House 2 
was one of those places where various societies held their 

1 Curiously enough, this play is referred to in London Past and 

* In his rooms over The Thatched House the late Mr Salting 
assembled his wonderful collections of pictures and objets d'art. 


meetings. The "Society " referred to by Swift was one 
of the earliest of these. A still better remembered club 
was " The Society of Dilettanti," formed in 1734, of which 
Walpole not very fairly wrote that it was a club for which 
the nominal qualification was having been in Italy, and 
the real one, being drunk. The history of this fraternity 
has been written. Its splendid publications are well 
known. The aid it afforded to classic art is reflected in 
buildings, public and domestic, throughout the country. 
But nothing has, perhaps, better kept its fame alive than 
the fine series of portraits of its members which, by a rule 
of the club, those members were bound to have painted 
for presentation to the club. Three of them were by 
Sir Joshua, but the greater number were executed by 
Knapton, the official painter to the body ; at a later date 
Lawrence and West contributed a few. These works of 
art, perpetuating the features of the many illustrious 
members, and reminding one of the earlier effort in this 
direction of the Kit-Kat Club, were hung round the large 
room at The Thatched House, where the club had its 
gatherings, until the demolition of the premises, when it, 
with its artistic property, was removed to Willis's Rooms 
in King Street, and later to the Grafton Gallery. 

The ceiling of the room used by the Dilettanti was 
painted to represent the sky, and was crossed by gold 
cords interlacing each other, and from their knots were 
hung three large glass chandeliers. A drawing by T. H. 
Shepherd shows the room decorated by its portraits and 
two fine carved marble mantelpieces. 1 

Prominent among other fraternities 2 which used to 

1 Timbs' Clubs of London. 

2 Timbs, on the authority of Admiral W. H. Smyth, the historian 
of the Royal Society Club, gives the following list of clubs which 
held their meetings at The Thatched House in 1860 : The Institute 
of Archives, the Catch Club, the Johnson Club, the Dilettanti 
Society, the Farmers', the Geographical, the Geological, the 



meet at The Thatched House, was the famous Literary 
Club, now represented by The Club, the records of the 
latter being almost as fully represented in Grant Duff's 
Diary as are those of the former in the pages of Boswell. 

The Literary Club, after meeting at various places 
The Turk's Head in Gerrard Street and Prince's in 
Sackville Street among them moved to Parsloe's in 
St James's Street, at the beginning of 1792, and to The 
Thatched House just seven years later. It was, too, at 
this house that, in June 1815, the Yacht Club was formed, 
afterwards to be known far and wide as the Royal Yacht 
Squadron; while, in 1791, the Architects' Club was in- 
itiated here, Dance, Holland, Wyatt, Gandon, etc., being 
original members. 1 

The Thatched House Tavern disappeared, as we have 
seen, in 1865, a portion of it having been taken down as 
early as 1844, when a stone-fronted edifice, called the 
Thatched House Chambers, arose on its. site. It was next 
door to The Thatched House that Rowland, of Macassar 
oil fame, had his shop. He was a French emigre, and 
came to London with the Bourbons on the outbreak of 
the Revolution, returning to France in 1814. He was the 
most fashionable coiffeur of the day, and his charge for 
cutting hair alone was five shillings. 

On the site of the new Thatched House Tavern the 

Linnean and the Literary Societies, the Navy Club, the Philo- 
sophers' Club, the Royal College of Physicians' Club, the Political 
Economy Club, the Royal Academy Club, the Royal Astronomical 
Society, the Royal Institution Club, the Royal London Yacht 
Club, the Royal Naval Club, the Royal Society Club, the St Albans 
Medical Club, the St Bartholomew's Contemporaries, the Star Club, 
the Statistical Club, the Sussex Club, and the Union Society of 
St James's a goodly list I 

By the by, it is not de rigueur to speak of the society as a club, 
and members doing so submit to a fine. 

1 See Life of Gandon. 


Civil Service Club was formed in 1865. Eight years later 
it was rechristened The Thatched House Club, as we know 
it. Adjoining it on the south side, and occupying a part 
of No. 87 St James's Street, was at one time the Egerton 
Club, which is, however, no longer in existence, and, so far 
as I cam learn, never had any history. 


As we have seen, the Conservative club-house stands on 
ground a portion of which was formerly occupied by The 
Thatched House Club. It has thus a certain historic 
interest, although the present club dates only from 1840, 
in which year it was formed as a kind of overflow club to 
The Carlton. The club-house was designed jointly by 
Basevi and Sydney Smirke, and was erected during 1843- 
1845, being formally opened on 19th February of the latter 
year. Apart from the interest attaching to this spot, 
from the fact of The Thatched House having stood there, 
it has a further one, for in an adjoining house, on the site 
of the present club, then occupied by Elmsley the book- 
seller, Gibbon was accustomed to lodge, and here died in 
1794 l ; while in another, in earlier days forming one of a 
range of shops with low elevations, Rowland, famous for 
his Macassar oil, had his emporium, 2 as I have before 

The Conservative Club buildings cost just over 73,000, 
of which nearly 3000 was expended on encaustic decora- 
tions to the interior, executed by Sang. Timbs, in his 

1 This house stood at the south corner of Little St James's Street 
in those days. 

"His advertisements speak of des vertues incomparables de 
I'Huile de Macassar, which gives point to Byron's lines in Don 
Juan : 

" In virtues nothing earthly could surpass her, 
Save thine incomparable oil, '- Macassar.'- 


notes on the place, gives a description of its architectural 
details, a form of writing so dull and unmeaning to the 
general reader that I dispense with it here, confining 
myself to the statement that the exterior is a combination 
of the Corinthian and Roman-Doric styles. A fact re- 
corded by the writer, however, which is of some interest, 
is that Sir Robert Peel is said only once to have entered 
the club of which so many chiefs of the Conservative Party 
have been and are members, the solitary occasion being 
when he was shown round to view the then recently 
completed internal decorations. 


In point of date this club comes next on our list, for 
it was established in 1863, and is housed in that vast- 
windowed, rather ecclesiastical, building which Alfred 
Waterhouse designed for it. In Tallis's Views it will 
be seen that the site of this club, No. 57, with the adjoin- 
ing house (No. 58), was then occupied by Symons's Hotel, 
the two buildings being thrown into one. 

Beyond the facts that The New University is the only 
'Varsity club in St James's Street, that its frontage stands 
out in a prominent way, and that it is obviously a flourish- 
ing concern, there does not appear to be any particular 
reason (unless, of course, you be a member or a guest) for 
loitering at it. 

The same may be said for the 


which is the most modern in St James's Street, having 
been formed so recently as 1894. As the last-named club 
represents the 'Varsities, so does this one learned societies 
of various kinds, which fact differentiates it from other 



clubs in our street. Beyond this its interest may be said 
to be self-centred. 


was established in 1875, and should thus have taken 
precedence of the Royal Societies, but there is a motive 
for placing it last, as will be seen. The club-house was 
the work of C. J. Phipps at least, that architect re- 
modelled it out of the earlier building standing on this site, 
notably Crockford's, certain relics of which are still pre- 
served in the later institution in the shape of the original 
ballot-box and some chairs once used in the gaming-rooms 
of the ex-fishmonger. As its name denotes, The Devon- 
shire is, or was, political. Its special shade of opinion 
is likewise thus indicated, or rather was before Mr 
Gladstone's Home Rule Bill tore up political distinc- 
tions by the roots and removed the once recognised and 
unmistakable landmarks. 

For us the chief interest of The Devonshire centres in 
the fact that it is, architecturally, a reconstructed but, of 
course, very different Crockford's. Its exterior, indeed, 
is not greatly altered, as may be seen by extant pictures 
of the place as it was in George IV. 's time. It is for this 
reason that what has to be said about Crockford's properly 
comes in this place. 


The name of Crockford's is as frequent in Georgian social 
annals as is that of Almack's. In common with the latter, 
it has its place in contemporary literature, and the novel 
entitled Almack's can be matched by the poem called 
Crockford House. 

Crockford, who began life as a fish salesman near Temple 
Bar, having made some good speculations in gambling, 



opened a hazard bank in Piccadilly, and apparently had 
another, after the closing of the Piccadilly establishment, 
in Bolton Row, according to the lines in Crockford House : 

" Crockford, voting Bolton Row 
On a sudden, vastly low, 
And that gentlemen should meet 
Only in St James's Street, 
Broke his quarters up, and here 
Entered on a fresh career." 

In a word, he acquired three houses in St James's 
Street Nos. 50-52 and in 1827 l erected the splendid 
building designed for him by the Brothers Wyatt, the 
decorations of which alone are said to have cost nearly 
100,000. The gambling-room (now the dining-room of 
The Devonshire) was the feature of what, on its opening, 
was described as "The New Pandemonium " by a genera- 
tion that loved long words. Nothing was forgotten by 
this past master in the art of running a gaming-house, 
which could tempt men of rank and fashion to patronise 
the new premises, from the most elaborate and comfort- 
able surroundings to the cookery of Ude 2 and Francatelli ; 

1 He had probably purchased a house earlier, as I find by the 
Rate Books for 1813 that he was then rated on a rental of 
160 in St James's Street. This house was, doubtless, No. 53, 
next door (south) to Crockford's, where the proprietor lived and 

2 Disraeli, writing to his sister in February 1839, says : " There 
has been a row at Crockford's and Ude dismissed. He told the 
committee he was worth 10,000 a year. Their new man is 
quite a failure. So I think the great artist may yet return 
from Elba. He told Wombwell that, in spite of his 10,000 a year, 
he was miserable in retirement ; that he sat all day with his hands 
before him doing nothing. Wombwell suggested the exercise of 
his art for the gratification of his own appetite. ' Bah ! ' he said, 
5 1 have not been into my kitchen once. I hate the sight of my 
kitchen ; I dine on roast mutton dressed by a cook-maid.' He 
shed tears, and said he had been only twice in St James's Street 



and if some, like Fox, were attracted by the desire of 
excitement, others, like Sefton, were drawn hither by 
gastronomic considerations. I suppose there was hardly 
a well-known man of the day who had not been a more 
or less frequent visitor to Crockford's gilded saloons, and 
the amount of money lost and gained there must have 
been prodigious. 

Stories concerning the place are as the sands of the sea ; 
the contemporary letters and diaries are full of them. 
Hazard was the game played here, and Gronow is prob- 
ably not far wrong when he supposes that Crockford won 
the whole of the ready money of the then existing genera- 
tion. The captain's description of the place and its 
habitues must be known to most people, and it seems 
that in some of the smaller rooms the play was more 
hazardous even than in the larger gaming saloon. ' ' Who, " 
he writes, " that ever entered that dangerous little room 
can ever forget the large green table with the croupiers, 
Page, Barking and Bacon, with their suave manners, 
sleek appearance, stiff, white neckcloths, and the almost 
miraculous quickness and dexterity with which they 
swept away the money of the unfortunate punters ? " 
What tune " the old fishmonger himself, seated snug and 
sly at his desk in the corner of the room, watchful as the 
dragon that guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides, 
would only give credit to sure and approved signatures." 
It was, indeed, a case of the spider and the flies a golden 
spider in a gilded web. 

In Gronow 's pages you may see two pictures, one 

since his retirement (which was in September), and that he made it 
a rule never to walk on the same side as the club-house. ' Ah, I 
love that club, though they are ingrats. Do not be offended, Mr 
Wombwell, if I do not take off my hat when we meet ; but I have 
made a vow I will never take off my hat to a member of the com- 
mittee. 2 I shall always take my hat off to you, Mr Ude,' was the 



entitled Votaries of the Goddess of CItance St James's, 
the other, Play at Crockford's Club, 1843. Count Dor say 
throwing a Main, which illustrate the accompanying de- 
scription. The latter is dated a year before Crockford's 
death, after which event the premises were sold by 
auction. 1 

Crockford had retired in 1840, and the event seems to 
have spread the same kind of consternation among the 
members as might the closing of a bank. "One great 
resignation has occurred," writes Disraeli on 12th June 
1840. " Last night Crockford sent in a letter announcing 
his retirement. 'Tis a thunderbolt, and nothing else is 
talked of; 'tis the greatest shock to domestic credit 
since Howard and Gibbs. Some members are twelve 
years in arrear of subscriptions. One man owes 700 
to the coffee-room ; all must now be booked up. The 
consternation is general." 

Two or three other clubs tried their chances there 
subsequently, among them the Military, Naval and 
County Service Club, opened in 1849 but closed three 
years later ; then the Wellington Restaurant opened its 
doors there. "Alas, poor Crocky's," wails Gronow, 
" shorn of its former glory has become a sort of refuge for 
the destitute a cheap dining-house " ; and later it was 
an auction mart. When the Devonshire Club started 
here the place may be said to have thrown off that incubus 
which was the curse of an earlier generation and to have 
proved that men may meet without necessarily wanting 
to fleece each other or be fleeced. 

i Thirty-two years of the lease were unexpired, and this was dis- 
posed of for 2900. It must be added, however, that the ground- 
rent stood at 1400 per annum. The excellent monograph on the 
club written by Mr H. T. Waddy, and published hi 1919, records 
all, or practically all, that is known of Crockford's and The 



At a house next door to Crockford's, on the north side, 1 
the Guards' Club was first established in 1813. In 
Tallis's Views it may be seen, a narrow, tall building, 
not very dissimilar from the "Guards' " late premises in 
Pall Mall. To the north of the latter was the corner 
house, then occupied by Hoby, the well-known boot- 
maker. On 9th November 1827 the Guards' club-house 
suddenly collapsed. This was caused, it is said, by the 
excavations made during the erection of Crockford's, 
which weakened the foundations of the adjoining house. 
The circumstance is alluded to in the following opening 
lines of Crockford House : 

"Oft as up St James's Hill I 
Push along for Piccadilly, 
There what Cockney crowds I meet, 
Gazing, wondering in the street 
At the chasm in front of White's, 
Strangest, fearfullest of sights ! " 

A note to this passage states that " the chasm is here 
described as it appeared in the beginning of last November, 
just before the fall of the Guards' club-house." Another 
set of verses begins by asking : 

" What can these workmen be about ? 
Do, Crockford, let the secret out, 
Why thus your houses fall ? 
Quoth he : ' Since folks are not in town, 
I find it better to pull down 
Than have no pull at all.' " 2 

Another club, established on this side of St James's 
Street, was Weltzie's. It is said to have been formed in 

1 That on the south side was for long, from 1873, the head- 
quarters of the Junior St James's Club. 

a The satirical poem entitled St James's was addressed to 
Mr Crockford, and contains much amusing, though often very 
allusive, information about his establishment and its habituds. 
It was published in 1827, and was dedicated to Tom Moore. 



opposition toBrooks's, because Tarleton and Jack Payne 
had been blackballed at the latter, and their friend, the 
Prince of Wales, withdrew his membership. It occupied 
No. 63 St James's Street (afterwards Fenton's Hotel), and 
was established there certainly before 1779. Nine years 
later William Grenville, writing to the Marquis of Buck- 
ingham, remarks : ' ' The Prince of Wales has taken this 
year very much to play, and has gone so far as to win or 
lose 2000 or 3000 in a night. He is now, together with 
the Duke of York, forming a new club at Weltzie's, and 
this will probably be the scene of some of the highest 
gaming which has been seen in town. All the young men 
are to belong to it." l 

Weltzie was the Prince of Wales 's house steward, clerk 
of the kitchen, factotum, go-between, what you will, and 
no doubt he took the St James's Street premises on the 
advice, perhaps the order, of his Royal Highness, who may 
almost be regarded as the real proprietor, although it is not 
probable that he put any money into the concern, except 
what he lost at play. 

It would seem that good living was as much a char- 
acteristic of Weltzie's as high play, and in this respect it 
resembled Watier's in Piccadilly, also started by one of 
the Prince of Wales 's dependants; 

When, in May 1779, the Knights of the Bath gave their 
famous ball at the Opera House, the supper was provided 
"by Mr Weltzie of St James's Street, whose spirit," so 
runs a contemporary account, "and skill on this occasion, 
we fear, will far exceed his profit." 

I imagine that Weltzie originally started a kind of 
restaurant at No. 63, and that later the club formed by 
the Prince was opened in the already established premises. 

Much the same sort of place was Parsloe's in St James's 

1 Memoirs of the Court and Cabinets of George III., by the Duke 
of Buckingham, vol. i., p. 363. 



Street, where the Literary Club met in 1792, although 
this establishment was merely a convivial one and did not 
pander to the gambling propensities of the period. 

As we have seen, the clubs either were held in the 
chocolate or coffee houses of St James's Street or were, as 
in the case of White's, direct outcomes of these establish- 

One of the earlier ones, however, is not known except 
in its simpler capacity, for Ozinda's, as it was called, from 
its proprietor's name, at the bottom of the thoroughfare, 
" next door to the palace," seems to have been a chocolate- 
house and nothing more. It had Jacobite tendencies, 
and Swift records eating there in March 1712. In 1715 
Guards were seen entering the place, and Mr Ozinda was, 
with Sir Richard Vivyan and Captain Forde, who had 
been found on the premises, brought out and carried away 
captive. What subsequently became of the house or its 
proprietor is not recorded. 

We have more information about another once well- 
known coffee-house in St James's Street. This was 


which stood three doors from the south-west corner of the 
thoroughfare, and thus was next door but one to the old 
Thatched House. Adjoining it, on the south side, was 
Gaunt 's coffee-house, whither White's Club moved tem- 
porarily after the fire in 1733. Timbs states, in error, 
that the " St James's " was the "last house but one on the 
south-west corner " of the street. The Rate Books, how- 
ever, show that Elliot, 1 who kept it, was three doors from 

1 He, or rather his wife, has been commemorated by Gay : 
" How vain are mortal man's endeavours, 
Said at Dame Elliot's, Master Travers."- 

The Quidnuncks. 



the corner, while Morriss, who ran G aunt's coffee-house, 
was next to him on the south, adjoining the corner 
house, once occupied by Lord Shelburne. 

Just as Ozinda's and The Cocoa-Tree were pronounced 
Tory strongholds, so The St James's was the recognised 
headquarters of the Whigs. 

The Taller and The Spectator contain frequent references 
to it. For instance, a kind of synopsis of the intentions of 
the editors in No. 1 of the former tells us that "Foreign 
and Domestic News you will have from St James's Coffee- 
house " ; and in No. 403 of The Spectator (12th June 1712) 
Addison, writing apropos a report of the French king's 
death, tells us how he went the round of the coffee and 
chocolate houses to obtain information regarding the 
rumour : " That I might begin as near the Fountain head as 
possible," he writes, "I first of all called in at St James's 
(coffee-house), where I found the whole outward room in 
a Buzz of Politics. 1 The Speculations were but very 
indifferent towards the Door, but grew finer as you 
advanced to the upper end of the Room, and were so very 
much improved by a knot of Theorists who sate in the 
inner Room, within the steam of the Coffee Pot, that I 
there heard the whole Spanish Monarchy disposed of, 
and all the Line of Bourbons provided for in less than a 
Quarter of an Hour." This passage gives us some idea 
of the plan of the house, its outer and inner rooms, the 
position of its coffee machine, etc. ; while an advertisement 
(also from The Spectator, No. 24) informs us of the names 
of some of its personnel, and runs as follows : 

"To prevent all Mistakes that may happen among 
gentlemen of the other End of the Town, who come but 

1 In No. i of The Spectator Addison says : "I appear on Sunday 
nights at the St James's Coffee-house, and sometimes join the 
Committee of Politics in the inner room as one who comes there to 
hear and improve." 



once a week to St James's Coffee-house, either by miscall- 
ing the Servants, or requiring such things from them as 
are not properly within their respective Provinces : this 
is to give Notice, that Kidney, keeper of the Book-Debts 
of the outlying Customers, and Observer of those who go 
off without paying, having resigned that Employment, is 
succeeded by John Sowton, to whose Place of Enterer of 
Messages and first Coffee Grinder William Bird is pro- 
moted ; and Samuel Burdock comes as Shoe Cleaner in 
the Room of the said Bird." 

When exactly the St James's coffee-house was first 
started is not quite clear, but that it was in existence in 
1709 is proved by the fact that in that year Michael Cole 
first exhibited his globular oil-lamp here, an invention 
which "caught on" pretty quickly apparently, for an 
observant traveller notes, about this period, that "most 
of the streets are wonderfully well lighted, for in front of 
each house hangs a lantern or large globe of glass, inside 
of which is placed a lamp which burns all night:" 

A notable frequenter of the coffee-house was Swift, who, 
in his Journal to Stella, makes various allusions to it, 
chiefly in reference to letters being left there for him : 
"I will pay for their letters at the St James's Coffee- 
house that I may have them the sooner," he writes at a 
time when correspondence for which he was not saanxious 
was to be sent to him under care of Richard Steele, Esq., 
at the Cockpit in Westminster; On one occasion he passes 
part of the afternoon with Sir Matthew Dudley and Will: 
Frankland there. Sometimes he dates his letters from the 
St James's. In October 1710, however, he remarks that he 
is "not fond at all of St James's Coffee-house, as I used 
to be "; and adds, " I hope it will mend in winter." It 
was evidently dull just then, as its members were "all 
out of Town at Elections, or not come from their Country 
houses." Later, Swift asks that those who direct packets 



to him should do so under cover to Mr Addison at the 
St James's coffee-house. It appears that when letters 
arrived there they were fixed in a little glass frame in the 
bar, whither Swift, on one occasion, speaks of looking 
for one of M. D:'s (Stella's) letters in her "little hand- 

It was at The St James's that the Town Eclogues were 
read on their first appearance, and in the "Advertise- 
ment " to the work the fact is thus recorded by the writer : 
"Upon reading them over at St James's Coffee-House they 
were attributed by the general voice to the production of 
a Lady of Quality. When I produced them at Button's 
the poetical jury there brought in a different verdict, and 
the foreman strenuously insisted that Mr Gay was the 
man." As in the famous discussion about the colour of 
the chameleon, both attributions were right and wrong, 
for it is now generally agreed that the work was a joint 
production, "The Drawing Room " being by Lady Mary 
Wortley Montagu (the Lady of Quality), but, according 
to Pope, who himself contributed "The Basset-Table," 
the rest was "almost wholly Gay's." l 

Another and more notable circumstance connects the 
St James's coffee-house with the annals of literature, for 
it was here that occurred the incident which caused Gold- 
smith to write his Retaliation. It was customary for a 
number of literary men to meet together here, among 
them being Johnson, Garrick, Doctor Bernard, Edmund 
and Richard Burke, Caleb Whitefoord, Thomson, 
Reynolds, Cumberland, etc. Cumberland gives the origin 
of these meetings in a dinner at Sir Joshua's, where 
Edmund Burke suggested that they should assemble 
occasionally at the St James's coffee-house. To these 

1 See Spence's A necdotes. The book was published by J. Roberts, 
" near the Oxford Anns in Warwick Lane, !! on 26th March 1716. 
See Underbill's Poetical Works of John Gay. 2 vols. 1893. 



meetings Goldsmith invariably came late, and on one 
occasion some of the members produced mock epitaphs 
on "the late Dr Goldsmith," the only one that has 
survived being Garrick's : 

"Here lies poet Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll ; 
He wrote like an angel, and talked like poor Poll." 

There has been some difference of opinion as to the exact 
circumstances and the mood in which Goldsmith took 
the friendly banter, but, in any case, the Retaliation was 
his retort to what some of his friends produced in the St 
James's coffee-house. 1 Two years after this harmless 
combat took place a different sort of encounter occurred 
at the coffee-house, and Lord Carlisle, writing to Selwyn 
in 1776, describes how "The Baron de Lingsing ran a 
French officer through the body on Thursday for laughing 
at the St James's Coffee-house. " "I find," adds Carlisle, 
" he did not pretend that he himself was laughed at, but 
at that moment he chose that the world should be grave. " 

Among other prominent members may be mentioned 
St John, during the early years of the house's existence, 
and Dr Warton at a later period. It is recorded of the 
latter that often he would be found at breakfast there 
surrounded by officers of the Guards (who were also 
frequenters of the place) listening with interest and 
attention to his conversation. 

At a still later date we get a glimpse of another literary 
celebrity at the " St James's," for, as a young man, Isaac 
Disraeli was accustomed to come up to London from his 
father's house at Enfield, in order to read the newspapers 

The coffee-house did not exist for very many years after 
this, for in 1806 it was closed, its premises demolished, 

1 See, for a full account of the circumstances, Forster's Life of 
Goldsmith, 1871, vol. ii., p. 404 et seq. 



and a large block of buildings erected on its site. These, 
in turn, were pulled down a few years ago, and a still more 
elaborate structure raised in their place. 

As I have stated, Gaunt's coffee-house was next door 
to the " St James's," on the south. There seems to be 
practically no reference to it in contemporary literature, 
and little appears to be known of it, except the fact that 
White's for a time occupied it, as we have seen. Its site 
was, in the earlier years of the last century, covered by 
the large double house, run by one English as an hotel. 
This building was eventually pulled down and the new 
erection referred to above set up in its place. 


IT would probably be far easier to make a list of the 
famous men and women of the last two centuries who 
have not in one way or another been connected with St 
James's Street and its tributaries, than to give a complete 
record of those who have. When we remember that the 
whole of the social life and much of the political during the 
eighteenth century was focused round this thoroughfare; 
when we call to mind the associations of the two famous 
clubs which held, and to some extent still hold, sway 
here ; when we recollect that the coffee-houses were then 
the resort of the great ones in all walks of life, and also 
recall the names of the illustrious people who actually 
lived in the thoroughfare or the byways out of it, it will 
not be difficult to realise how much St James's Street 
stood for during that period which, beginning with the 
reign of Anne, closed with the saddened, clouded days of 
George III. 

During the last century the case is very parallel. The 
rise and extraordinary power wielded by the female 
oligarchy which directed the destinies of Almack's, the 
ever-increasing prosperity of White's and Brooks's, the 
fashion which made St James's Street the social thor- 
oughfare par excellence of the Regency, all combined in 
sustaining the reputation of the street and in crowding it 
with the men and women whose names live in the political 
and fashionable annals of the period. Since those days, 
although certain marked changes have taken place here, 
the street has retained that character which it has borne 



for so long. Illustrious statesmen may no longer live 
in it (although in some of its by-streets they are still to be 
found, or were a few years since), but they may yet be 
seen perambulating its pavements. The clubs may no 
longer be quite the political centres they once were (such 
activity being now removed to Pall Mall), but politicians 
still enter their portals and look out from their windows. 
If no one to-day emulates the equestrian feats of Lord 
Petersham or the Jehu-like proclivities of " Old Q " or 
Lord Alvanley, the motor and the taxi bear to and fro 
men every whit as notable and as citizens far more useful. 
There are two reasons why St James's Street should 
always bear a unique character among London's in- 
numerable thoroughfares : the presence at its lower end 
of St James's Palace, and the fact that London's chief 
western artery beats at its upper extremity. For if the 
Palace is no longer the residence of the Sovereign, it yet 
signifies the seat of the imperial dignity, official documents 
still bearing the time-honoured information that they 
emanate from the Court of St James's; and if Piccadilly 
has been rivalled in size by other thoroughfares, it yet 
remains essentially the principal source whence the life- 
blood of the west is pumped (so to phrase it) into those 
lesser arteries on both sides of it, of which the chief is 
the St James's Street of a thousand memories. 

In the foregoing pages we have come across a variety 
of illustrious people who have either resided here or who 
have been connected with the thoroughfare in other ways 
statesmen and politicians, poets and painters, literary 
men and men of leisure, roue's of the days of the Stuarts 
and rakes of the days of the Guelphs. The Pulteneys 
and the Baldwins, who represent the earliest inhabitants, 
have given way to the stately form of Edmund Waller 
and the aristocratic mien of my Lord Berkshire ; the 
beautiful Countess of Carlisle and the rather illusive Lady 
M 177 


Pickering have passed away in favour of the notorious 
Duchess of Cleveland and the super-proud Countess of 
Northumberland ; Sir Allan Apsley and Sir John Dun- 
combe, the scientific Lord Brouncker and the Jacobite 
Sir John Fenwick, have retired into the shades and have 
been replaced by Dr Swift and the Duke of Kingston. 
The beautiful Molly Lepell and Mr Maclean, highwayman, 
Mr Addison and Dick Steele are ghosts in whose footsteps 
tread other phantoms Lord Nelson and Charles James 
Fox and the sedate Mr Wilberforce. Byron looks out of 
a window close by, a window from which Gillray falls 
headlong; "Old Q " drives where the Duke of Ormond 
drove on a memorable occasion. Down the steps of 
White's feet follow feet in endless succession Sefton and 
Brummell and Raikes hard on Gilly Williams and George 
Selwyn and Horace Walpole the chiefs of the Tory 
aristocracy in an endless succession of illustrious names. 
Brooks's disgorges a not less notable crowd, many of 
whom, like Lord March and Selwyn, were also among 
the members of White's. Mr Vernon, who founded the 
Jockey Club, and the Duke of Grafton, whom Junius 
attacked so virulently; Rodney, the great seaman, and 
Augustus Hervey, also a sea-dog, who married Elizabeth 
Chudleigh, afterwards Duchess of Kingston ; Lord Corn- 
wallis, Charles James Fox and Peter Beckford ; Storer, 
the correspondent of Selwyn, and Hare of the many 
friends ; Lord Ligonier, perpetuated by Reynolds, and 
Gibbon, who perpetuated the decadence of Rome. Gren- 
ville and Pitt and Coke of Norfolk, and Sheridan and 
Burke ; Lord Sandwich the ' ' Jimmy Twitcher ' ' of the cari- 
caturists and Lord William Russell, who was murdered 
by Courvoisier ; while the habitues of The Cocoa-Tree and 
Boodle's, of the St James's coffee-house and Ozinda's 
join the throng and contribute their quota to the crowd. 
The heyday of St James's Street was the eighteenth 



century that period which stands out, in picturesqueness, 
from all other periods of English social life. Waller 1 
may have strolled down the street often enough at an 
earlier date, when he lived "next doore to the Sugar 
Loafe." My Lord Clarendon must often have been seen 
passing out of Berkshire House ; and the merry monarch 
himself, no doubt, loitered up from the Palace, with 
Rochester or Sedley, and perhaps Mr Evelyn, in his train, 
and probably Samuel Pepys on the outskirts, noting all 
things, including the vanity and outrageous behaviour 
of Lady Castlemaine. 

The Duke of Ormond was waylaid by Blood at the top 
of the street on that famous occasion when hardly could 
all his Grace's attendants save him from abduction in 
broad daylight and in the very sight of the royal Palace. 
But it is the eighteenth century that leaves the chief 
reflected glamour on St James's Street ; the eighteenth 
century, ranging from the days of Addison and Steele and 
Swift to those of Scott and Byron and Campbell ; but 
chiefly the eighteenth century when Horace Walpole was 
writing his letters, when Selwyn was uttering his good 
things and Elizabeth Chudleigh was doing her uncon- 
ventional ones. Indeed, it is to Walpole that we chiefly 
look for data about the life of fashionable London in 
those days ; and Walpole never disappoints us. About 
St James's Street and its life and clubs he is full of 
amusing and interesting details. Open his correspondence 
almost at random, and you will find something bearing on 

1 On one occasion Waller writes as follows to his wife : 

" The Duke of Buckingham with the Lady Sh (rewsbury ?) 
came hither last night at this tyme and carried me to the usual 
place to supper, from whence I returned home at four o'clock this 
morning, having been earnestly entreated to supp with them 
again to-night, but such howers can not be always kept, therefore 
I shall eat my two eggs alone and go to bedd. " 



the subject. For instance we have him, in 1745, writing 
to George Montagu, and telling how "one Mrs Corny ns, 
an elderly gentlewoman, has lately taken a house in St 
James's Street," and how "some young gentlemen went 
thither t'other night. ' Well, Mrs Comyns, I hope there 
won't be the same disturbances here that were at your 
other house in Air Street. ' ' Lord, Sir, I never had any 
disturbances there ; mine was as quiet a house as any in 
the neighbourhood, and a great deal of good company 
came to me : it was only the ladies of quality that envied 
me. ' ' Envied you ! why, your house was pulled down 
about your ears ! ' 'Oh, dear, Sir ! Don't you know how 
that happened ? ' ' No, pray, how ? ' ' My dear Sir, 
it was Lady Caroline Fitzroy, who gave the mob two 
guineas to demolish my house, because her ladyship 
fancied I got women for Colonel Conway.' I beg you 
will visit Mrs Comyns when you come to town ; she has 
infinite humour. " 1 

Again, it is Walpole who tells us of Maclean, the highway- 
man, and his companion, Plunket, who had lodgings 
respectively in St James's and Jermyn Streets, that 
" their faces are as known about St James's as any gentle- 
man's who lives in that quarter " ; as well as of the old 
Countess of Northumberland, who lived on the site of 
White's club-house, that "when she went out a footman, 
bareheaded, walked on each side of her coach, and a 
second coach with her women attended her." Here is 
another and later vignette of a St James's Street vehicular 
scene : " The Duke of Queensberry," writes Lord Carlisle 
to Selwyn (1779), " has added a little chaise with ponies, 
so that with his vis-d-vis, Kitty's coach and his riding 
horses, St James's Street seems entirely to belong to him, 
and he has an exclusive right to drive in it." 

1 This, doubtless, refers to the " certain notorious house in 
St James's Street " of which Besant speaks. 



A still later one is supplied by Moore l on the 
occasion of his accompanying Byron on a visit to Tom 
Campbell at Sydenham in 1811: "When we were on 
the point of setting out from his lodging in St James's 
Street, it being then about mid-day, he said to the 
servant who was shutting the door of the vis-d-vis : 
' Have you put in the pistols ? ' and was answered in the 

Apropos of Byron's residence in St James's Street, 
although his letters prove him to have lodged at No. 8 
(where his huge medallion portrait may still be seen on 
the face of the house) in 1809, and again from October 
1811 to July 1812, I find one communication of his dated 
from Reddish 's Hotel, in the street, on 23rd July 1811. 
The name of another poet, Campbell, reminds me that he, _~ 
too, once lodged in St James's Street, in 1836, at York 
Chambers, then No. 41. Although in some respects 
Byron is the street's most famous ghost, the thoroughfare 
seems far more closely identified with the shade of another 
great man Charles James Fox; for not only did he 
live here, as well as in Arlington Street, for a time, but 
the larger portion of his life must have been spent at the 
hazard tables of the St James's Street clubs, with which 
his name is so intimately identified. He lodged next door 
to Brooks 's, 2 and it was hither he returned from Italy 
on 24th November 1788, after a journey of some eight 
hundred miles performed in nine days, to be present at 
the debates on the Regency Bill. Seven years earlier his 
affairs had reached one of their periodical crises, and 
Walpole relates how, as he came up St James's Street, he 
saw "a cart and porters at Charles's door, coppers and 

1 Life of Byron, vol. i., p. 404. 

2 His rooms were on the first floor, and immediately above them 
were apartments occupied by James Hare " the Hare with many 



old chests of drawers loading. In short, his success at faro 
has awakened his host of creditors, but unless his bank 
had swelled to the size of the Bank of England, it would 
not have yielded a sop for each. Epsom, too, had been 
unpropitious, and one creditor has actually seized and 
carried off his goods, which did not seem worth removing. 
As I returned, full of this scene, whom should I find 
sauntering by my own door (in Arlington Street) but 
Charles. He came up and talked to me at the coach- 
window on the Marriage Bill with as much sang-froid as 
if he knew nothing of what had happened. " 

To Fox's lodgings here the Prince of Wales frequently 
came, and oftener than not remained " drinking royally " 
with his host, who, as soon as he rose, which was very late, 
had a levee of his followers and of the members of the 
gaming set at Brooks's. His outer room he styled his 
Jerusalem chamber, because of the Jews who waited in it 
to offer him pecuniary assistance, or to dun him for loans 
already made. Fox was accustomed to borrow even 
from the waiters at his clubs, and the very chairmen in St 
James's Street were in the habit of importuning him for 
the payment of their trifling charges. 1 

It was probably in Fox's house that Mrs Gunning and 
her daughter lodged in 1791. "The Signora and her in- 
fanta now, for privacy, are retired into St James's Street, 
next door to Brooks's Club," writes Walpole to Miss 
Berry. This lady was the wife of General John Gunning, 
and her daughter, Elizabeth, was thus niece to the beauti- 
ful Duchess of Argyll. In 1791 this daughter became 
notorious in connection with her own and her mother's 
attempts to prove that the Marquises of Lome and Bland- 
ford had both made her offers of marriage. They denied 
the truth of Miss Gunning's statement, and she remained 

1 By the by, the last stand for sedan chairs was in St James's 
Street, and down to 1821 six or seven could still be found there. 



single till 1803, when she became the wife of a Major 

Three years after this Gibbon died at his lodgings in 
St James's Street. His rooms were at No. 76, then over 
Elmsley's, the bookseller's, and on the site of what is now 
part of the Conservative Club. According to Gibbon 
himself, the lodging was "cheerful, convenient, some- 
what dear, but not so much as a hotel ; a species of 
habitation for which I have not conceived any great 
affection." 1 

He wrote thus cheerfully, but death was not far from 
him. Morison 3 tells us that his malady was dropsy, but 
complicated with other disorders. After twice under- 
going the operation of tapping in November 1793, he 
went to visit Lord Sheffield, but rapidly became so much 
worse that he determined to return to London in order 
to be under the joint care of Clive and Baillie. He left 
Sheffield Place on 7th January 1794. Six days later 
another operation took place and gave him temporary 
relief : " Next day he received some visitors, and thought 
himself well enough to omit the opium draught which 
for some time he had been used to take. In the course of 
conversation he remarked that he thought himself a good 
life for two, twelve, or perhaps twenty years. About six 
he ate the wing of a chicken and drank three glasses of 
Madeira. Though he had a bad night, on the morning of 
the 15th he professed to feel plus adroit than he had been 
for three months past. He wished to rise, and it was with 
some difficulty his servants persuaded him to keep his 
bed until the doctor called, who was expected at eleven. 
At the time appointed the doctor came ; but Gibbon was 
then visibly dying, and about a quarter before one he 

1 Letter to Lord Sheffield, dated pth November 1793, from St 
James's Street. 
3 Lije of Gibbon. 



ceased to breathe. He wanted just eighty-three days 
more to have completed his fifty-seventh year." 

Gibbon, it will be remembered, was a member of both 
The Cocoa-Tree and Brooks 's, and in his journal will be 
found references to these clubs. A curious memento, 
connecting Fox and Gibbon with the latter, must be 
among the treasures of some collector, for, when Fox's 
belongings were sold, after his death, there was found the 
first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 
presented by Gibbon to the statesman, who had written 
on one of the blank leaves this pregnant note: "The 
author, at Brooks 's, said there was no salvation for this 
country until six heads of the principal persons in adminis- 
tration were laid upon the table. Eleven days after, this 
same gentleman accepted a place of lord of trade under 
those very Ministers, and has acted with them ever since ! " 

St James's Street, which sheltered Waller and Pope and 
Byron ; where Maclean, the highwayman, lodged cheek by 
jowl with the " quality " whom he robbed ; where Wolfe 
once stayed and wrote to Pitt asking for employment in 
1758 ; and where Gillray threw himself out of a window ; 
where the clubs and coffee-houses took in and gave forth 
half the intellect and aristocracy of the land ; where Dr 
Johnson, requiring a pair of shoe-buckles, came to the 
shop of Wirgman, here, to get them, as faithfully recorded 
by Boswell St James's Street is, notwithstanding its 
famous habitues and its notable events, as much associated 
with the name of Betty, the fruit woman, as with that of 
any other person during the eighteenth century. 

Readers of Walpole's Letters will not need to be told 
who Betty was; those whose studies have not included 
this source of information will probably like to know. 
Her real name was Elizabeth Neale, but she was known 
to everyone who was anyone as Betty, tout court. Her 
shop was at No. 62, and here politicians and men and 



women of ton were accustomed to lounge. Betty not only 
knew everything that was passing in the world of fashion 
and politics, she was also well versed in the family history 
of her patrons ; she had a pleasing manner, and is said to 
have been full of anecdotes and stories, which she retailed 
to her clientele. 

Mason, in his Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers, 
has immortalised her in the following lines, about which, 
by the by, Walpole l tells us she was in raptures : 

" There, at one glance, the royal eye shall meet 
Each varied beauty of St James's Street ; 
Stout Talbot there shall ply with hackney chair, 
And patriot Betty fix her fruit-shop there. " 

Of Betty's origin nothing seems to be known, except 
that she was born, in 1730, in St James's Street. She 
was accustomed to say that she had slept out of the 
thoroughfare only on two occasions: once when she 
went to pay a visit in the country, and once when she went 
to Windsor on the occasion of an Installation of Knights 
of the Garter. 

When Walpole visited Vauxhall in 1750 with Lady 
Caroline Petersham and others, on the famous occasion 
recorded in his Letters, 2 Betty accompanied the party 
with hampers of strawberries and cherries. In 1763 we 
find Lord Holland telling Selwyn that he "sent Betty 
a present by Lord Bateman, which she received very 
graciously indeed"; and in the Selwyn correspondence 
are frequent allusions to the lady. 

Betty retired from business about 1783, and went to 
live in a house in Park Place, in which she died on 30th 
August 1797, at the age of sixty-seven. In an obituary 
notice of her in The Gentleman's Magazine, the following 

1 Letter to Mason, 2/th March 1773. 

2 To Montagu, 23rd June 1750. 

I8 5 


summary of her attainments appears : " She had the 
first pre-eminence in her occupation, and might justly 
be called the Queen of Applewomen. Her knowledge of 
families and characters of the last and present age was 
wonderful. She was a woman of pleasing manner and 
conversation, and abounding with anecdote and entertain- 
ment. Her company was ever sought for by the highest 
of our men of rank and fortune. " 

It was near Betty's shop that Thomas Wirgman had his 
establishment, where he carried on business as a goldsmith 
and jeweller, and where once at least (as I have mentioned) 
the great Dr Johnson was a customer. Wirgman was as 
much a character in his way as was Betty in hers. He 
made a considerable fortune, but got rid of most of it in 
developing his version of Kantesian philosophy. He had 
paper specially made for his books, the same sheet consist- 
ing of several different colours, and it is said that one book 
of four hundred pages cost him no less than 2276. 
Among his publications was a grammar of the five senses, 
for the use of children, which, he declared, if generally used 
in schools, would restore peace and harmony to the world, 
with the result that virtue would everywhere replace 
crime. There must have been more than a touch of 
madness in a man who hoped, under any circumstances, 
to bring about such a desideratum ; but it is pleasant to 
think of honest Wirgman working out his Utopian theories 
within sound of the gambling hells of St James's Street 
and surrounded on all sides by the laxity and extravagance 
of his essentially free-and-easy century. 

To-day it is rather difficult to reconstruct the St 
James's Street of history and legend from the changed 
character and rebuilt outlines of the existing thoroughfare. 
Thackeray 1 says that, "after looking in The Rake's 

1 Thackeray, by the by, was lodging at No. 88, in 1843-1844, 
when engaged on Barry Lyndon, which he began and finished here. 



Progress at Hogarth's picture of St James's Palace-gate, 
you may people the street, but little altered within these 
hundred years, with the gilded carriages and thronging 
chairmen that bore the courtiers, your ancestors, to Queen 
Caroline's Drawing room more than a hundred years ago." 1 
But Thackeray wrote when the thoroughfare had, as he 
says, not materially altered; before the splendid stone offices 
of banks and insurance offices arose in it ; before the motor 
and the taxi made the chariot and the sedan seem as dead 
as the dodo ; before many of the clubs that now exist 
were thought of. One or two things may, however, even 
now serve as the alembic to one's fancy, and may so 
operate on the imagination as to cause us, for an inter- 
space, to throw our minds back to the days when the 
great Sir Robert and the masculine-minded Queen 
Caroline ruled the kingdom between them; when the 
swarthy visage of Fox and the thin form of Pitt might 
have been seen in the street ; when Alvanley and 
Petersham splashed its mud, or Brummell and the Regent 
cut one another on its pavement; when D'Orsay's waist- 
coats and Wellington's nose were familiar to its habitue's, 
and the Victorian era, with its poke-bonnets and crinolines, 
its peg-top trousers and high-lows, had replaced the hoops 
and patches, the swords and wigs and silk stockings of an 
earlier day. Of these things, the shop-front of Messrs 
Lock, hatters, is one ; the little turning known as Pickering 
Place is another ; but the chief is, of course, the Tudor 
front of the Palace, which, altered as it has been, is yet 
essentially the front that looked down on Charles and 
Rochester and Sedley, on Queen Anne and her Augustan 
age, on the Georges and their varied courts, on the young 
Queen who was to give her name to a longer, a greater and 
a more marvellous age than had any of her predecessors. 
St James's Palace does not come within the scope of 
1 English Humourists. 


this book. Its history has been already adequately 
written. Its name has for four centuries stood for the 
pomp and circumstance of our sovereignty. If its stones 
could speak they would hold us entranced. From the 
days of the burly Tudor downwards the Court of St 
James's has been represented by that picturesque pile of 
brick-work. One or two sights specially connected with 
St James's Street it could discourse on. It has seen 
cannon placed on the eminence opposite, when Wyatt's 
rebellion threatened Queen Manx's throne, and Lord 
Clinton stood in what is now St James's Street, with his 
troops ready to guard the royal residence. Agnes Strick- 
land thus records the fact: "On the hill opposite the 
Palace gateway was planted a battery of cannon, guarded 
by a strong squadron of horse, headed by Lord Clinton. 
This force extended from the spot where Crockford's club- 
house now stands and Jermyn Street ... no building 
occupied at that time the vicinity of the Palace excepting 
a solitary conduit standing where the centre of St James's 
Square is at present. The whole area before the gateway 
was called St James's Fields." 

From this attempt on the royal power let us turn to an 
attempt on the liberty of a great noble. Surely St James's 
Street, with all its memories, has hardly witnessed a 
more incredible incident than that related by Carte, whose 
version I transcribe verbatim. 

"The Prince of Orange," he writes, "came this year 
(1670) into England, and being invited, on 6th December, 
to an entertainment in the city of London, his Grace (the 
Duke of Ormond) attended him thither. As he was 
returning homewards on a dark night, and going up St 
James's Street, at the end of which, facing the Palace, stood 
Clarendon House, where he then lived, he was attacked 
by Blood and five of his accomplices. The Duke always 
used to go attended with six footmen. . . . These six 


footmen used to walk three on each side of the street 
over against the coach ; but, by some contrivance or 
other, they were all stopped and out of the way when the 
Duke was taken out of his coach by Blood and his son, 
and mounted on horseback behind one of the horsemen 
in his company. The coachman drove on to Clarendon 
House and told the porter that the Duke had been seized 
by two men, who had carried him down Piccadilly. The 
porter immediately ran that way, and Mr James Clarke, 
chancing to be at that time in the court of the house, 
followed with all possible haste, having first alarmed 
the family, and ordered the servants to come after him as 
fast as they could. Blood, it seems, either to gratify the 
humour of his patron, who had set him upon this work, or 
to glut his own revenge by putting his Grace to the same 
ignominious death which his accomplices in the treason- 
able design upon Dublin Castle had suffered, had taken a 
strong fancy into his head to hang the Duke at Tyburn. 
Nothing could have saved his Grace's life but the extrava- 
gant imagination and passion of the villain, who, leaving 
the Duke mounted and buckled to one of his comrades, 
rode on before, and (as is said) actually tied a rope to the 
gallows, and then rode back to see what was become of his 
accomplices, whom he met riding off in a great hurry. 
The horseman to whom the Duke was tied was a person 
of great strength ; but, being embarrassed by his Grace's 
struggling, could not advance as fast as he desired. He 
was, however, got a good way beyond Berkeley (now 
Devonshire) House, towards Knightsbridge, when the 
Duke, having got his foot under the man's, unhorsed him, 
and they both fell down together in the mud, where they 
were struggling when the porter and Mr Clarke came up. 
. . . The King, when he heard of this intended assassina- 
tion of the Duke of Ormond, expressed a great resentment 
on that occasion, and issued out a proclamation for the 



discovery and apprehension of the miscreants concerned 
in the attempt. V 

After this, other St James's Street incidents seem 
almost commonplace; the arrest of an ambassador for 
debt is insignificant compared with the attempted murder 
of a great noble, but such a sight has been witnessed here, 
for Prince Metreof, the Russian envoy, after attending the 
Queen's leve"e on 27th July 1707, and taking formal leave 
of her on being recalled to his own country, was arrested 
in St James's Street, on the writ of a Mr Morton, lace- 
man of Covent Garden, and was carried off, with much 
indignity, to a sponging-house. 

If the attack on the Duke of Ormond cannot be exactly 
paralleled, a not altogether dissimilar circumstance once 
occurred in St James's Street to no less a person than the 
younger Pitt some hundred and odd years later. Pitt 
had been made Prime Minister in December 1783, on the 
dismissal of the Coalition Government, and in the follow- 
ing February the Corporation sent a deputation to him, 
to his brother's house in Berkeley Square, in order to 
bestow on him the Freedom of the City. After this 
ceremony the whole party returned to the city, where 
Pitt was engaged to dine at the Grocers' Hall. The 
progress to and, later, from the city was one continual 
triumph, but the Opposition party "The Friends of the 
People," as they styled themselves were wrought to a 
state of fury. It thus happened that when, late at night, 
a crowd of artisans was dragging the coach in which sat 
Pitt, Lord Chatham, and Lord Mahon, up St James's 
Street, and the procession had arrived before the Whig 
stronghold B rooks 's club-house the vehicle was sud- 
denly attacked by a determined band of ruffians, including, 
it is said, some members of the club itself, armed with 
sticks and bludgeons. Some of the rioters, making their 
way to the carriage, forced open the doors, and actually 



Going to WHITES. 


After a drawing l>y Dighton 


aimed blows at the Prime Minister, which were with 
difficulty warded off by his companions. The servants 
were much mauled, the carriage demolished, and only 
with difficulty could Pitt, Chatham, and Mahon reach 
the shelter of White's : 

" See the sad sequel of the Grocers' treat, 
Behold him darting up St James's Street, 
Pelted and scared by Brooks 's hellish sprites, 
And vainly fluttering round the door of White's." 1 

Since those days St James's Street has seen many a 
notable event, many a gorgeous pageant proclamations 
before the Palace gateway, Jubilee processions, royal 
wedding festivities, the return of famous leaders from suc- 
cessful campaigns, the departure of troops to uphold the 
honour of the flag in distant lands. The thoroughfare is 
linked up with the history of the country by its proximity 
to the royal Palace no less than by those centres of political 
activity which find their homes within it. 

But with all its great memories, one or two incidents 
seem to stand out Fox gaily chatting while his home 
was being rifled ; the great lexicographer solemnly 
choosing shoe-buckles, with, no doubt, the little Scots- 
man in attendance ; Byron awaking and finding himself 
famous, and Byron again, friendless and alone, going to 
take his seat in a regardless House of Lords. 

You may people St James's Street with the great 
men and women of three centuries by the help of the 
memoirs and diaries which record their doings ; you 
may even reconstruct its architectural outlines by the 
help of plans and elevations ; with Gwynn you may 
imagine a royal palace extending practically along the 
whole west side and cutting into the present Palace, 

1 The Rolliad, ii. 125. 


leaving nothing remaining but its picturesque and historic 
gateway. 1 

But, after all, the street's most outstanding memories 
are those connected with the spacious days of the Regency ; 
with the Prince receiving his famous "cut " from Brum- 
mell ; with Brummell repaying a debt by giving his arm to 
his creditor from Brooks 's to White's ; with Lord Sefton 
on his way to the latter club, as portrayed by Deighton, 
or with Theodore Hook walking with squinting Mr 
Manners Sutton, and forming the subject of the sketch 
which the famous H. B. entitled Hook and Eye.* 

1 See Gwynn's London and Westminster Improved, where the 
suggestion is made and a plan of the proposed alteration given. 

2 Among innumerable other notable people of more recent days 
who have lodged temporarily in St James's Street mention may 
be made of Abraham Hayward and George Meredith ; while I 
find Isaac Disraeli dating a letter to Lady Blessington from 
i St James's Place, on 5th February 1838. 




WHEN the lines of demarcation separated Society in a far 
more arbitrary manner than is the case to-day, some 
common ground on which the sexes might meet became 
almost a necessity, and the protagonist was forthcoming 
in a Heidegger or a Cornelys, who administered to the 
wants in this direction of those who were unwilling or 
unable to provide them in their own more restricted 

What Nash did at Bath could surely be as easily 
accomplished in London, and forthwith Soho Square 
resounded to the strains of music and the laughter and 
chatter of an idle throng idle only in one sense of the 
word, for such assemblies always had one dominant 
underlying feature: they formed a matrimonial market, 
where buyers and sellers were as eager, and sometimes 
the merchandise as unsuspecting and as passive, as in 
any other centre of commercial traffic. 

I say one underlying feature ; I should have said several, 
for whereas the sellers generally had a single object in 
view, the buyers often had many it might be desire to 
kill time, to do nothing worse than gossip and talk 
scandal, but more frequently it was to enter into those 
intrigues by the number of which and his success in them 
a fine gentleman of the period gained that notoriety which 
was then so often mistaken for celebrity. 

Under such conditions it is not difficult to see that balls 
and masquerades like those which Madame Cornelys and 
others of lesser note organised were doomed, sooner or 



later, to degenerate into assemblies at which the decent 
found themselves out of place, and even the lax had 
sometimes occasion to raise their eyebrows. But with 
the advent of the "Farmer King," manners and customs 
gradually took on a more sober tone, at least outwardly, 
and things began to be ordered somewhat more decently 
than before ; for if intrigues were indulged in as frequently, 
they were not carried on so openly as in earlier days. 

At this time Madame Cornelys "The Heidegger of the 
age," as Horace Walpole calls her had been carrying 
on her establishment at Carlisle House, in Soho Square, 
for about ten years, and the masquerades held under her 
auspices had become notable for their indecency and 
"mockery of solemn feelings and principles"; but not- 
withstanding the complaints of bishops, and the opposi- 
tion of rival establishments, the egregious mistress of 
the ceremonies continued to fill her rooms and her 

But there were signs of storms ahead, and one of the 
first to see that profit might be made out of a rival establish- 
ment that should be decent and select, as that in Soho had 
never really been, was one Macall, 1 a Scotsman, who, to 
hide his origin and perhaps also to disarm the prejudice 
which Lord Bute's unpopularity had done much to foster 
against his countrymen, had inverted his name toAlmack, 
when, in 1763, he started the club in St James's Street, 
which was originally known as Almack's, but in latter days 
became the better known Brooks 's. 

I am not prepared to say that William Almack ever 
set up as a regenerator of manners ; indeed, the club he 
founded soon won such a character for unbounded 
gambling, " worthy the decline of our Empire," according 

1 He had married a lady's maid of the Duchess of Hamilton, 
and it was the Duke of that name who advised him to call himself 



to Walpole, that such an assertion would be a contradic- 
tion in terms ; but there is no doubt that he saw that the 
day had come when decorum and exclusiveness were more 
likely to pay than a further development (if that were 
possible) of impropriety. His club had been opened under 
the auspices of such great and influential ones as the Dukes 
of Roxburghe and Portland, Lord Strathmore, Mr Crewe, 
and Charles James Fox, and with such powerful supporters 
he thought rightly that he could count on the co-operation 
of the then limited great world in his new venture. 

He selected the site of his Assembly Rooms well. 
King Street, St James's, is, as all the world knows, the link 
between London's most fashionable street 1 and its most 
aristocratic square ; it is within calling distance of Pall 
Mall, which had then a royal palace on each hand, and 
in the very centre of club-land. 

In the sixties of the eighteenth century it was still more 
the heart of fashion's particular region than it is to-day, 
when Mayfair more than vies with St James's, and 
Marylebone almost vies with both. 

The spot chosen by Almack was that immediately to the 
east of Pall Mall Place, 2 and in 1764 the erection of his 
"rooms " was begun, Robert Mylne being the builder. 

Mrs Harris, writing to her son, afterwards Earl of 
Malmesbury, on 5th April 1764, refers to the erection of 
the buildings: "Almack is going to build most magnifi- 
cent rooms behind his house, 3 one much larger than at 
Carlisle House." 

1 1 may remind the reader that not till 1830 was the street 
carried through to St James's Street ; before then only a narrow 
court gave access to it, which must have caused great inconvenience 
to carriages setting down at Almack's. 

2 Attached to the original lease is a ground plan of the property 
acquired by Almack. 

3 Referring to Almack's Club in Pall Mall. The Marlborough 
Club now occupies its site. 



There is no doubt that the project made some stir at 
the time, especially among the fashionable world, which 
was more or less dependent on Carlisle House for at least 
its indoor amusements ; and the mistress of that establish- 
ment viewed with some apprehension the rising of this 
. new star; indeed, we find Walpole writing, on 16th 
December 1764, and stating that "Mrs Cornelys, appre- 
hending the future assembly at Almack's, has enlarged 
her vast room, and hung it with blue satin, and another 
with yellow satin "; "but," he adds, "Almack's room, 
which is to be 90 feet long, proposes to swallow up both 
hers, as easily as Moses's rod gobbled down those of the 

It was quite obvious that there would be a severe 
contest for supremacy between the rival assembly rooms, 
Mrs Cornelys relying on her already established vogue, and 
also on the various improvements she from time to time 
carried out, and, above all, on the influence of her clientele, 
who, perhaps, were not averse from the licence she per- 
mitted ; Almack, on the other hand, looking to the 
novelty of his venture, its more central situation, and the 
disgust of many at the mixed nature of the assemblies in 
Soho Square, to enable him to compete successfully with 

The Scotsman also evolved another masterly stroke of 
policy : his rooms were to be under the management of 
a committee of ladies of high rank, and the only possible 
way of gaining admission to them was to be by vouchers 
or by personal introduction. This was, indeed, to kill 
two birds with one stone, for it not only gave some of 
the most influential members of the ton a personal and 
almost despotic influence in the management, but it also 
furnished an added zest when it was recognised that the 
difficulty of admittance was only to be equalled by the 
kudos to be gained by being admitted. 


At length Almack's new building was opened, on 12th 
February 1765, but, in spite of the presence of a royal 
Duke, not under the most promising conditions. Horace 
Walpole's account of the event, contained in a letter to 
Lord Hertford, is dated two days later : 

"The new Assembly Room at Almack's was opened 
the night before last, and they say is very magnificent, but 
it was empty ; half the town is ill with colds and many 
were afraid to go, as the house is scarcely built yet. 
Almack advertised that it was built with hot bricks and 
boiling water : think what a rage there must be for public 
places if this notice, instead of terrifying, could draw 
everybody thither. They tell me the ceilings were 
dripping with wet ; but can you believe me when I assure 
you that the Duke of Cumberland was there ? nay, had 
a leve"e in the morning and went to the Opera before the 
Assembly. There is a vast flight of steps, and he was 
forced to rest two or three times. 1 When he dies of it 
and how should he not ? it will sound very silly, when 
Hercules or Theseus ask him what he died of, to reply, 
'I caught my death on a damp staircase at a new 

In this letter further details are given with regard to 
the rooms, which consisted of "three very elegant " ones. 
The subscription was ten guineas, " for which you have a 
ball and supper once a week for twelve weeks. " "You 
may imagine," continues the writer, "by the sum, the 
company is chosen ; though, refined as it is, it will be 
scarce able to put old Soho out of countenance. The 
men's tickets are not transferable, so, if the ladies do 
not like us, they have no opportunity of changing us, but 
must see the same persons for ever." 

Notwithstanding such fears, the place "caught on," as 
we should now express it, from the very first, and Gilly 
1 Jesse's Selwyn and his Contemporaries, vol. i., p. 360. 


Williams, in a subsequent letter to his friend, written in 
the following March, thus records its progress : 

"Our female Almack's flourishes beyond description. 
If you had such a thing at Paris, you would fill half a 
quire of flourished paper with the description of it. 
Almack's Scotch face, in a bag- wig, waiting at supper, 
would divert you, as would his lady in a sack, making tea 
and curtseying to the duchesses." 

The Assembly Rooms, once set going, were not long in 
getting firmly established. The letters of the period are 
the best criterion of this, and the writers wax eloquent 
over the entertainments, and set down, with evident 
unction, the names and titles of those who graced Almack's 

Thus Selwyn, writing to Lord Carlisle on 15th 
January 1768, gives us this vignette: "Almack's was 
last night very full ; Lady Anne and Lady Betty were 
there with Lady Carlisle. The Duke of Cumberland sat 
between Lady Betty and Lady Sarah, who was his 
partner. Lady Sarah, your sister, and His R(oyal) 
H(ighness) did nothing but dance cotillons in the new 
blue damask room, which by the way was intended for 
cards. The Duchess of Gordon made her first appearance 
there, who is very handsome ; so the beauty of the 
former night, Lady Almeria Carpenter, was the less 

This extract is of particular interest, for besides inform- 
ing us that Almack had already found it necessary to 
enlarge his rooms by the addition of a "blue damask 
room," thus indicating increased patronage, it introduces 
us to some of those who shed lustre and " rained influence " 

The Ladies Anne and Betty were Lord Carlisle's sisters, 
the Lady Carlisle being his mother, who was the daughter 
of that 4th Lord Byron whose duel with Mr Chaworth, 



and subsequent trial, in 1765, formed one of the sensations 
of the day. 

The Duke of Cumberland is not, of course, to be con- 
founded with the "Butcher of Culloden," whom we have 
seen " assisting " at the opening of Almack's. This Duke 
was that notoriously dissipated brother of George III. 
who, " though not tall, did not want beauty," as Walpole 
says, and who married, in 1771, Mrs Horton, much to the 
disgust of his royal relative. Here we find him "dancing 
cotillons" with "Lady Sarah," who was no other than 
the celebrated Lady Sarah Lennox, for whom his Majesty 
had a tendre, and whom, had he had a will of his own then, 
he would have made his Queen. Others were in love with 
that beautiful creature, Selwyn's friend and correspondent, 
Lord Carlisle, among them ; but the lady who might have 
shared a throne consoled herself with a baronet, Sir 
Charles Bunbury, chiefly notable for his racing pro- 
clivities, from whom she was divorced in 1776. 1 

The Duchess of Gordon, whom Walpole called " one of 
the empresses of fashion," was one of Pitt's few intimate 
friends, and stood to the Tory Party in somewhat the 
same relation as the Duchess of Devonshire did to the 
Whigs. Famous for her beauty, she seems, in Selwyn's 
eyes at least, to have eclipsed another lovely woman, 
Lady Almeria Carpenter, who, like Lady Suffolk at an 
earlier date, combined the functions of lady-in-waiting to 
a royal lady (in this case the Duchess of Gloucester) with 
those of mistress to that lady's lawful lord ! 

In the following month Selwyn has again a reference 
to Almack's, 2 when he writes that: "Lady S(arah) is in 

1 She afterwards married George Napier, and was the mother of 
Sir Charles, Sir George, and Sir William Napier, all notable men in 
their day. 

2 His references to the club of the same name are, of course, 



town, and I suppose very happy with the thoughts of a 
mascarade which we are to have at Almack's next Monday 
sevennight, unless in the interim some violent opposition 
comes from the Bishops." 

The last paragraph was but too prophetic ; the hierarchy 
were unpropitious, and ten days later Selwyn informs 
Carlisle that "the Bishops have, as I apprehended that 
they would, put a stop to our masquerade, for which I am 
sorry, principally upon Lady Sarah's account. I shall go 
this morning and condole with her upon it. ' ' 

It will be remembered that a few years later the bishops 
opposed a similar entertainment at Carlisle House, and the 
Bishop of London even remonstrated with the King, but 
Mrs Cornelys was apparently less sensitive to ecclesiastical 
and royal displeasure than Almack, and her masquerade 
was held, when lo ! the wives of four of the bishops were 
present ! 

Although the later development of Almack's, or perhaps 
one should say its restriction, to an assembly room for 
dances of the most select kind has given its very name a 
merely Terpsichorean signification, it must be remembered 
that during its earlier days it was besides this really a 
sort of ladies' club, 1 such as are nowadays common enough. 
Indeed, the two things were coterminous, at least for a 
time ; and while cotillons were being danced in the great 
room, money was being gambled away in other parts of the 
building with an energy that might have even surprised 
Crockford's, and a constancy that was hardly surpassed 
at White's. 

Mrs Boscawen once wrote to her friend, Mrs Delany, 
a somewhat minute account of the modus vivendi here: 

1 Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was anxious to become a member 
of Almack's, is found attending the Ladies'- Club there in 1771, 
where nearly all the habitues were at one time or another his 



"The female club I told you of is removed from their 
quarters," she says, "Lady Pembroke objecting to a 
tavern ; it meets, therefore, for the present at certain 
rooms of Almack's, who for another year is to provide a 
private house. . . . The first fourteen who imagined and 
planned it settled its rules and constitutions. These were 
formed upon the model of one of the clubs at Almack's. 
There are seventy-five chosen (the whole number is to 
be two hundred). The ladies nominate and choose the 
gentlemen and vice versa, so that no lady can exclude 
a lady, or gentleman a gentleman ! The Duchess of 
Bedford was at first blackballed, but is since admitted. 
Duchess of Grafton and of Marlborough are also chosen. 
Lady Hertford wrote to beg admittance and has obtained 
it ; also Lady Holderness, Lady Rochford are black- 
balled, as is Lord March, Mr Boothby, and one or two 
more who think themselves pretty gentlemen du premier 
ordre, but it is plain the ladies are not of their opinion. 
Lady Molineux has accepted, but the Duchess of Beaufort 
has declined, as her health never permits her to sup abroad. 
When any of the ladies dine with the Society they are 
to send word before, but supper comes of course, and is 
to be served always at eleven. Play will be deep and 
constant probably. " 

The Duchess of Bedford, against whom someone 
apparently had a grievance, was the second wife of the 
4th Duke "the little Duke," Walpole calls him and 
before her marriage, Lady Gertrude Leveson-Gower, 
daughter of John, Earl Gower. One wonders if the cause 
of her Grace's rejection when she was first proposed had 
anything to do with her connection with the marriage of 
the Duke of Marlborough and Lady Caroline Russell. 
We certainly know, from Lord Holland's reminiscences, 1 
that she used all sorts of "mean and unbecoming artifices 
1 Life and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox, vol. i., p. 72. 


to bring this match on, and which she had so little pride as 
to use in publick too, exposing herself to the ridicule of the 
whole world," and also that the Duke saw through them 
and "spoke to her Grace always with the utmost scorn 
and derision, sometimes with detestation." Perhaps his 
Grace did not care about meeting his mother-in-law 
oftener than need be, and so endeavoured to compass 
her exclusion, especially as his wife was one of the first 
members of the Society ! 

The Duchess of Grafton was the first wife of the 3rd 
Duke, but was divorced from him in 1769 ; before her 
marriage she had been the Hon. Anne Liddell, daughter 
and heiress of Henry, Lord Ravensworth. Lady Sarah 
Bunbury calls her "one of the coarsest brown women " she 
ever knew, and informs Lady Susan O'Brien that on their 
divorce the Duke allowed her 3000 a year, and that they 
put it about, as the reason for their parting, that "their 
tempers don't suit." The Duchess afterwards married 
the Earl of Upper Ossory, an intrigue with whom was 
the real cause of the divorce. Three days after this event 
she was legally joined to her lover, and the story goes that 
the day before the Bill for the Divorce was passed in the 
House of Lords she wrote a letter which she signed "Anne 
Grafton " ; added to it the next day, and to this post- 
script appended her old signature of Anne Liddell ; but 
did not send off the letter till she had again become a wife, 
when she concluded it with her new name, "Anne 
Ossory " ; a circumstance which gave rise to the well- 
known lines : 

" No grace but Graf ton's grace so soon, 
So strangely could convert a sinner ; 
Duchess at morn and Miss at noon, 
And Upper Ossory after dinner." 

Lady Ossory was, as all the world knows, one of Wai- 
pole's correspondents ; Lady Hertford was another of his 



friends, being the wife of his kinsman, the 1st Earl of 
Hertford. As she was the daughter of the 2nd Duke of 
Grafton, she was aunt of the 3rd Duke, 1 about whose 
Duchess's eccentricities we have just been reading. 

Lady Holderness, wife of the 4th Earl, was a foreigner, 
being the daughter of Sieur Doublet, a Dutch nobleman ; 
while Lady Rochford was the wife of the 4th Earl of 
Rochford, and the Duchess of Beaufort, the daughter of 
John Syme Berkeley, and sister and heiress of Baron 
Botetourt, through whom this title came to the Somerset 
family, she having married the 4th Duke of Beaufort 
in 1740. 

So much for the noble ladies who first held the destinies 
of Almack's in their hands. 

The Lord March who was blackballed was the after- 
wards notorious "Old Q," and Mr Boothby, who experi- 
enced a similar fate, was a member of Almack's Club, 
where, as Selwyn once put it, he used to lose his 300 
a night regularly ! 

Notwithstanding the patronage of half the nobility, 
Almack was not above recognising the uses of advertise- 
ment, and thus we find one of his perennial notices in 
The Advertiser of 12th November 1768, as follows : 

" Mr Almack humbly begs leave to acquaint the nobility 
and gentry, subscribers to the Assembly in King Street, 
St James's, that the first meeting will be Thursday, 24th 
inst. N.B. Tickets are ready to be delivered at the 
Assembly Room." 

Two years later Horace Walpole, writing to George 

Montagu, refers to the female club established here as 

distinct from the assemblies for dancing with which the 

name of Almack's is chiefly associated. " There is a new 

Institution that begins to make, and if it proceeds will 

make, considerable noise," he says. "It is a club of both 

1 He was grandson of the 2nd Duke. 



sexes to be erected at Almack's, on the model of that of 
the men at White's. Mrs Fitzroy, Lady Pembroke, Mrs 
Meynell, Lady Molyneux, Miss Pelham and Miss Lloyd are 
the foundresses. I am ashamed to say I am of so young 
and fashionable society ; but as they are people I live 
with, I choose to be idle rather than morose. I can go to 
a young supper without forgetting how much sand is run 
out of the hour-glass." 

Horace was nothing if not "fashionable," and never so 
much so as when he affects to disdain the usages of the 
monde, and winds up an account of his gay doings with 
some truly Horatian moralisings ; and here we find him 
a little ashamed of his frolics, but excusing himself on the 
plea that those with whom he revels are those with whom 
he lives, quite in the Walpolian manner. 

As Almack's, when first started, had threatened to 
extinguish Mrs Cornelys' entertainments, so both these 
rivals were destined to receive a severe blow at the hands 
of a common enemy, in the shape of The Pantheon, which 
was opened in Oxford Street, in 1772, and formed the chief 
social sensation of that year. Its proportions far ex- 
ceeded those of the establishments in St James's or Soho. 
There were, indeed, no less than fourteen rooms, not 
including the Rotunda, and at the opening on 27th 
January it is estimated that there were two thousand 
persons gathered together within its walls. No wonder 
Walpole called it "a winter Ranelagh." Mrs Delany, 
describing it from hearsay at the tune of its opening, 
records that "the lighting and the brilliant eclat on going 
in was beyond all description, and the going in and out 
made so easy by lanes of constables that there was not the 
least confusion." 

The Pantheon was burnt down just twenty years after 
it had been inaugurated, and though it was rebuilt some 
years later, its subsequent uses were of a varied kind and 



such as not greatly to interfere with Almack's. There is 
no doubt, however, that during the time of its prosperity it 
formed a very serious rival to the older establishment, and 
although the latter continued to attract a certain select 
(if I may use the word in this connection) few, yet the 
larger area, more elaborate decorations and lighting, and, 
above all, the novelty of the winter Ranelagh, made it a 
very formidable rival. 

But the early years of the new century were to witness 
a recrudescence of Almack's popularity ; and, indeed, it 
was to enter on a more prosperous period than it had ever 
before enjoyed. 



IN this second phase of Almack's history that portion of 

its constitution which has been referred to as the female 
club gradually died out, as did the extensive gambling 
that had become associated with it, and the rooms soon 
came to be entirely given over to dances and assemblies. 

One characteristic, however, clung to Almack's, not- 
withstanding these altered conditions : perhaps because 
of them it was, if possible, more select, more closely 
guarded, more haul ton than ever before, and in the history 
of despotism a chapter on the uncompromising nature of 
its rules and the autocratic bearing of its patronesses might 
not inaptly find a place. 

The lady patronesses of Almack's during the second 
great phase of its ascendancy, as, in a lesser degree, during 
its first burst of prosperity, carried matters to say with 
a high hand seems almost inadequate shall I write, with 
a clenched fist ? 

The laws of the Medes and Persians found themselves 
figuring in a great nineteenth-century revival, and it is 
safe to say that no personal authority, no special endow- 
ments, no wealth or influence, outside the magic circle, 
could avail if those who possessed these attributes 
attempted to break through the iron-bound rules of 
Almack's. The memoirs and letters of the period are full 
of references to the rooms in King Street and to those 
who ruled over their destinies ; but of all these authori- 
ties Captain Gronow is the most circumstantial, and, 



inasmuch as he was both in and of the world he writes 
about, the most reliable. Let us see what he has to say 
of these matters in the year of grace 1814. 

"At the present time," he writes, "one can hardly 
conceive the importance which was attached to getting 
admission to Almack's, the seventh heaven of the fashion- 
able world "; and he adds that only a paltry half-dozen 
of the Guards' officers, out of some three hundred, " were 
honoured with vouchers of admission to this exclusive 

What heart-burnings, 1 what impotent rage, "what 
wild ecstasy " of fury, must have alternated in the breasts 
of those peris shut out from the paradise of Almack's. 

"Many diplomatic arts, much finesse and a host of 
intrigues were set in motion to get an invitation," says 
Gronow, continuing the wondrous tale, and there was 
no chance here of emulating the daring impudence of 
Brummell, who once appeared at an evening party un- 
invited, but safe in the knowledge that the host and 
hostess were not on speaking terms and would each 
suppose that the other had asked him. No ; here the 
two-handed engine at the door, in the shape of a lynx-eyed 
Cerberus in livery, would permit of no one entering without 
the cardboard sop ! And not only were those who had 
no ticket excluded ; matters of dress regulation were as 
strictly enforced as at a State function. 

The Duke of Wellington, then probably the most 
popular, as he certainly was the greatest, man in England, 
once appeared at those portals armed with voucher and 
all necessary credentials, but, horrible to relate, in trousers 
instead of knee-breeches in black trousers, which had 
been strictly forbidden by the committee sitting in solemn 
conclave ! Whereupon he in authority : " Your Grace 

1 The Hon. Grantley Berkeley says this " female oligarchy was 
less in number, but equal in power to the Venetian Council of Ten." 
O 209 



cannot be admitted in trousers," and the Duke, "who 
had a great respect for orders and regulations," turned 
away, probably with a grim smile playing at the corners 
of his firm mouth. 

It reminds one of the horror of the Court Chamberlain 
who discovered Dumouriez almost on the verge of enter- 
ing the royal presence with bows instead of buckles to his 
shoes ! 

No wonder a contemporary observer x could write that 
" At Almack's, in 1814, the rules were very strict "; while 
a contributor to The New Monthly Magazine, for ten 
years later, remarks, after mentioning that the nights of 
meeting were confined to every Wednesday during the 
season: "This is selection with a vengeance, the very 
quintessence of aristocracy. Three-fourths of the nobility 
knock in vain for admission. Into this sanctum sanctorum, 
of course, the sons of commerce never think of entering 
on the sacred Wednesday evenings." 

At this period, however, a certain laxity began to be 

observable, for from the same source we learn that 

" Into this very ' blue chamber,' in the absence of the six 

necromancers (i.e. the lady patronesses), have the votaries 

_ of trade contrived to intrude themselves." 

But we are not yet concerned with the gradual decad- 
ence of Almack's ; at the period to which we are just now 
casting back our gaze it was at the very summit of its 
power and exclusiveness. Let us turn once again to 
Gronow for a confirmation of this : 

"Very often persons whose rank and fortunes entitled 
them to the entree anywhere were excluded by the cliquism 
of the lady patronesses," says he, " for the female govern- 
ment of Almack's was a pure despotism and subject to all 
the caprices of despotic rule. It is needless to add that, 
like every other despotism, it was not innocent of abuses." 
1 Lady Clementina Davies, in her Recollections of Society. 


That was just it: its strength and its weakness lay 
equally in the unassailable character of its decrees ; it 
was a Veremgericht from which there was no appeal ; and 
those who directed its destinies would have been some- 
what more than human had they been able to eliminate 
from their verdicts all trace of partiality. It was so easy 
to make their position a vehicle for personal recrimina- 
tion ; and it says something for the inherent good nature 
of the patronesses that no flagrant case of petty tyranny 
seems ever to have been brought home to them. 

Who were those who exercised this despotic power ? 
What, beyond the kudos of being of it, were the attractions 
in this nineteenth-century Hall of Eblis ? 

In the year 1814 the lady patronesses were Lady 
Castlereagh and Princess Esterhazy, Lady Cowper and 
Lady Jersey, Mrs Drummond Burrell, afterwards Lady 
Willoughby de Eresby, Lady Sefton and the Countess, 
later Princess, Lieven. 

I shall have more to say about these grandes dames in 
the following chapter, but I may note here that, according 
to Gronow, the most popular of them was Lady Cowper, 
who afterwards became Lady Palmerston ; that Lady 
Jersey sometimes made herself "simply ridiculous " with 
her tragedy-queen airs and was not infrequently ill-bred 
in her manners ; that Lady Sefton was kind and the 
Countess Lieven haughty ; and that Lady Castlereagh 
and Mrs Drummond Burrell were altogether too grandes 
dames to be anything but picturesque and exclusive 

If we glance for a moment at the " internal economy " 
of the rooms we shall find that at first the amusements 
were what would now be regarded as painfully insular, so 
far, at least, as the Terpsichorean art was concerned, the 
dances being confined to Scotch reels and what Gronow 
calls "the old English country dance," which by the by, 



is merely a rendering of the French contredanse, and had 
nothing essentially bucolic about it; these dances being 
under the direction of the famous Neil Gow, 1 the Scottish 

It was not long, however, before a change took place 
in this respect. In 1815, a year famous, it may be 
remembered, for other things, Lady Jersey, returning 
from Paris, brought with her the "quadrille." This was 
an event indeed, and Gronow, full of enthusiasm for the 
dance which, as he rightly says, "so long remained 
popular," gives the names of those who took part in the 
first one ever executed in England. 

Of course Lady Jersey was one of the protagonists, and 
she was supported by Lady Susan Ryder, Miss Mont- 
gomery and Lady Harriet Butler ; while the men engaged 
in the contest were the Count St Aldegonde (whose name 
always sounds as if it had been culled from one of Disraeli's 
novels), Mr Montagu, Mr Montgomery 2 and Mr Charles 

Although Gronow is thus specific in recording the names 
of those who, according to him, danced the very first 
quadrille in this country, yet in the volume in which he 
makes this statement is given an illustration, taken from 
a French print, which is supposed to represent Lady 
Jersey, Lady Worcester, Lord Worcester and Clanronald 
Macdonald 3 "dancing the first quadrille " there ! 

If the advent of the " quadrille " was an incident, that 
of the waltz was an event. Byron has sung the dance, as 
we all know, and what he says of it makes us the less to 

1 Born at Inver, Perthshire, 22nd March 1725, and died there 
ist March 1807. 

2 One of the stewards of Alraack's, and a member of the coterie 
of the Dandies. 

8 Macdonald of Clanronald married a daughter of Lord Mount 
Edgecumbe, in 1812, and was thus brother-in-law of Lady Brown- 
low, whose Reminiscences of a Septuagenarian appeared in 1867. 



wonder when Gronow affirms that "there were com- 
paratively few who at first ventured to whirl round the 
salons of Almack's." 

But use reconciles ; and indeed there were, at least in 
the earlier methods of dancing it, other things that easily 

When the first blush of strangeness had passed away, 
the waltz became the thing, and one of the earliest to be 
seen " describing infinite circles " round the great room 
at Almack's was " that laughing philosopher, gallant and 
gay," Lord Palmerston, with the haughty Princess Lieven 
in his arms. Others followed, and, according to Gronow, 
"Baron de Neumann was frequently seen perpetually 
turning with the Princess Esterhazy ; and, in course of 
time, the waltzing mania, having turned the heads of 
Society generally, descended to their feet, and the waltz 
was practised in the morning in certain noble mansions 
in London with unparalleled assiduity." 

Raikes l is eloquent on the introduction of the waltz hi 
this country, which, by the by, he places two years earlier 
than Gronow. " What scenes have we witnessed in those 
days at Almack's," writes he. " What fear and trembling 
in the debutantes at the commencement of a waltz, what 
giddiness and confusion at the end ! " 2 

The ingenuous diarist opines that it was probably the 
latter circumstance which accounted for the violent 
opposition that soon arose against the measure; but 
readers of Byron and of Sheridan's well-known lines will 

1 Diary, vol. ii., p. 240. 

2 As with the quadrille, so with the waltz, there is some dis- 
crepancy between the various dates given of its introduction : 
thus, according to the volume on Dancing in the Badminton 
Library, the introducer was Princess Lieven in 1816, whereas 
Raikes gives it as 1813, and Gronow about 1815. Anyhow, it 
seems certain that the credit of its introduction was due to the 
Princess Lieven. 



be ready to account for this antagonism by another 

There is no doubt that many considered it altogether 
immoral; "the anti- waltzing party took the alarm, cried 
it down ; mothers forbade it ; and every ballroom became 
the scene of feud and contention." 

Baron Tripp, a great dancer, Baron de Neumann, Count 
St Aldegonde, and others, persevered in spite of all the 
prejudices which were marshalled against them : "Every 
night the waltz was called, and new votaries, though 
slowly, were added to their train." Another great 
supporter of the dance was M. Bourblanc, whose tragic 
fate I shall have to relate in another place, when I shall 
have something more particular to say about the indi- 
vidual celebrities who graced from time to time the floors 
of Almack's. 

One can perhaps understand that the waltz was likely, 
at its first introduction, to find some disfavour amongst 
those who had been brought up on more stately measures ; 
but the author of a work on the Court of George IV. falls 
foul of the quadrille, than which one is accustomed to 
consider no dance more decent, and few, if the truth must 
be confessed, more dreary. Here is what the writer has 
to say on the subject: "We had much waltzing and 
quadrilling, the last of which is certainly very abominable. 
I am not prude enough to be offended with waltzing, in 
which I can see no other harm than that it disorders the 
stomach, and sometimes makes people look very ridicul- 
ous ; but, after all, moralists, with the Duchess of Gordon 
at their head, who never had a moral in her life, exclaim 
dreadfully against it. Nay, I am told that these magical 
wheelings have already roused poor Lord Dartmouth from 
his grave to suppress them. Alas ! after all, people set 
about it as gravely as a company of dervishes, and seem to 
be paying adoration to Pluto rather than to Cupid. But 



the quadrilles I can by no means endure ; for till ladies 
and gentlemen have joints at their ankles, which is im- 
possible, it is worse than impudent to make such exhibi- 
tions. . . . When people dance to be looked at, they surely 
should dance to perfection." So, after all, this rather 
ungrammatical tirade is not against the morals of the 
dance, but apparently against the difficulty experienced 
of figuring gracefully in it. 

But opposition to either waltz or quadrille was hopeless, 
and, according to Raikes, "Flahault, who was lafleur des 
pois in Paris, came over to captivate Miss Mercer, and, 
with a host of others, drove the prudes from their entrench- 
ments ; and when the Emperor Alexander was seen 
waltzing round the rooms at Almack's, with his tight 
uniform 1 and numerous decorations, they surrendered at 
discretion. ' ' 

Lord William Pitt Lennox tells us whom were con- 
sidered about this time the chief exponents of the new 
dances, and among the names he gives are those of Prince 
Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who afterwards became the 
husband of the Princess Charlotte and subsequently 
Leopold I., King of the Belgians ; Prince Esterhazy, the 
Dukes of Beaufort and Devonshire, Count D'Orsay and 
Lords Londonderry, Anglesey and Donegall; and many 
of these availed themselves of the instructions of the 
numerous maitres de danse who came over in the wake of 
the influential foreigners who had helped to popularise 
the waltz and the quadrille in this country. 

But the dances at Almack's did not always go off with- 
out mishap, and the industrious Gronow records at least 
one occasion on which an untoward event happened. 
Lord Graves, notable for his size as well as for the general 
excellence of his dancing, had on one occasion Lady 
Harriet Butler as his partner in a quadrille. The lady, 
1 Lady Brownlow's Reminiscences. 


fresh from Paris, astonished the habitues of Almack's by 
the grace and ease with which she performed the entrechats, 
as they were called. Lord Graves, anxious to emulate 
Lady Harriet's dexterity, attempted the figure ; but his 
bulk was against him, and he fell heavily to the ground. 
Nothing disconcerted, he was quickly on his feet again, 
and finished the quadrille ; but Sir John Burke, who was 
an amused spectator, could not resist remarking to him : 

What could have induced you, at your age and in your 
state, to make so great a fool of yourself as to attempt an 
entrechat " ? Whereupon the offended peer replied : " If 
you think I am too old to dance, I consider myself not 
too old to blow your brains out for your impertinence ; so 
the sooner you find a second the better " ; and had not 
Lord Sefton been at hand to pass the matter off with 
a sensible pleasantry, a duel would undoubtedly have 
been the upshot. 

So much for the dancing at Almack's. 

The assemblies were useful in other ways, as all such 
places are. "Almack's," says an authority, "was a 
matrimonial bazaar, where mothers met to carry on affairs 
of state; and often has the table, spread with tepid 
lemonade, weak tea, tasteless orgeat, stale cakes, and thin 
slices of bread and butter the only refreshment allowed 
been the scene of tender proposals." "How often," 
adds the chronicler, " has Colinet's flageolet stifled the soft 
response, ' Ask Mamma ! ' How often have the guardian 
abigails in the cloak-room heard a whispered sigh, followed 
by what vulgarians term 'popping the question,' and a 
faint reply of Yes!'" 

One of the rules was that no one might enter the rooms 
after eleven o'clock P.M. One can only suppose that 
there were good reasons for such a law, but the plain 
man fails to comprehend them. Not infrequently it was 
the cause of members being turned away, but at least 



on one occasion it was circumvented by a resourceful 

Again enters the Iron Duke into the story of Almack's. 

Ticknor x describes the circumstance more fully than it 
is given elsewhere, and I will therefore follow his version. 

After dining one day with Lord and Lady Downshire 
he went on with his hostess and other ladies to Almack's. 
On this particular evening Lady Jersey happened to be 
the patroness, it being usual for only one member of the 
committee to fill this post at a time. 

On their way to the ball the Downshire party called 
at Lady Mornington's, where they found the Duke of 
Wellington, who, being asked if he was going to Almack's, 
replied that " he thought he should look in by and by," 
on which his mother told him that " he had better go 
in good time, as Lady Jersey would make no allowance 
for him." However, he remained, and Ticknor and his 
friends proceeded to the rooms in King Street. 

Some time later in the evening Ticknor was standing 
talking to Lady Jersey, when he heard one of the attend- 
ants say to her : " Lady Jersey, the Duke of Wellington 
is at the door, and desires to be admitted." "What 
o'clock is it? " she asked. " Seven minutes after eleven, 
your Ladyship." She paused an instant, and then said 
with emphasis and distinctness: "Give my compli- 
ments give Lady Jersey's compliments to the Duke of 
Wellington, and say she is very glad that the first enforce- 
ment of the rule of exclusion is such that hereafter 
no one can complain of its application. He cannot be 
admitted." 2 

The stringency of Lady Jersey's rule is also well ex- 
emplified in the following anecdote, which I give in 

1 Diary, vol. i., p. 245. 

2 These and similar incidents are referred to in Luttrell's 
Advice to Julia. 



Gronow's own words: "When duelling was at its height 
in England, the most absurd pretexts were made for 
calling a man out. I recollect that at one of the dinners 
at The Thatched House in St James's Street, Mr Willis, 
the proprietor, in passing behind the chairs occupied by 
the company, was accosted by a Captain in the 3rd 
Guards, in a rather satirical manner. Mr Willis, smarting 
under the caustic remarks of the gallant captain, said 
aloud : ' Sir, I wrote to you at the request of Lady Jersey, 
saying that as her Ladyship was unacquainted with you, 
I had been instructed to reply to your letter, by stating 
that the Lady Patronesses declined sending you a ticket 
for the ball.' This statement, made in a public room, 
greatly irritated the captain ; his friends in vain en- 
deavoured to calm his wrath, and he sent a cartel the 
following day to Lord Jersey requesting he would name 
his second, etc. Lord Jersey replied in a very dignified 
manner, saying that if all persons who did not receive 
tickets from his wife were to call him to account for want 
of courtesy on her part, he should have to make up his 
mind to become a target for young officers, and he 
therefore declined the honour of the proposed meeting." 

But not all the lady patronesses were so uncompromis- 
ing as Lady Jersey ; and on another occasion the great 
Duke was permitted to enter, the rule for this occasion 
being waived in his favour, but only at the request of one 
of the presiding deities. 

It seems to have been no less difficult to break through 
the rules of Almack's than it was to evade the lynx-eyed 
janitors at the doors ; but at least one occasion is recorded 
on which, by a trick, a noble peer succeeded in entering 
after the fatal strokes of eleven had sounded. It was 
in this wise. Owing to an accident to his carriage the 
gentleman in question arrived too late, but instead of 
attempting to enter, which he knew would be next to 



useless, he waited outside until some of his acquaintances 
came out ; whereupon he went up to their carriage and 
pretended to say good-night to them, as a gentleman 
who was seeing them out was doing. On their departure 
the noble lord followed his friend in again, the latter truth- 
fully telling the servants that they had been seeing some 
ladies into their carriage. 

In Tom Moore's Diary we get some glimpses of Almack's 
jealously guarded interior and the doings that went on in 
its almost sacred precincts. In one early entry, in May 
1819, he says: "Went to Almack's (the regular 
Assembly) and staid till three in the morning. Lord 
Morpeth said to me: 'You and I live at Almack's.'" 
Again, in the April of 1822, he notes one of his frequent 
visits, but adds sadly that though there was a "very 
pretty show of women," the place was " not quite what 
it used to be." However, a week later he was there 
again, but was very nearly too late, as he had attended 
Catalani's concert, and had been obliged to go home and 
dress again for the Assembly. 

On 4th June in the following year he records again being 
a visitor, and with some complacency sets down the fact 
that Lady Jersey and Lady Tankerville "were sending 
various messengers after me through the room " ; a circum- 
stance on which he was bantered some days later at an 
assembly at Devonshire House by the Duchess of Sussex, 
who told him that she overheard someone near her say : 
" See them now ; it is all on account of his reputation, for 
they do not care one pin about him ! " 

On another occasion, in May 1826, a fancy quadrille, 
called the "Paysannes Proven^ales," was danced, much 
to the poet's satisfaction, although he had expected to 
witness one entitled the "Twelve Months," which had 
been given up on account of the death of the sister of 
" one of the months." 



Some days later it was performed, however, and Moore 
has this entry in his Diary : 

"June 31st. Went away (from a dinner at Lord 
King's) with Baring Wall, and having left him at the 
Traveller's, took his carriage home with me, and having 
refitted a little, made use of it to go to Almack's ; was 
there early ; waited till the Seasons arrived ; got into 
their wake as they passed up the room, and saw them 
dance their quadrille ; the twelve without any gentleman. 
Rather disappointed in the effect; their head-dresses 
(gold baskets full of fruit, flowers, etc.) too heavy ; Miss 
Sheridan the handsomest of any ; most of the others 
pretty, Miss Brand, the Misses Forester, Miss Acton, 
Miss Beauclerc; etc. As soon as I had seen them dance, 
came away." 

There are other references to the famous assemblies in 
the Diary, but enough have been given, although I must 
not omit to mention that Moore speaks of the young girls 
of the period as " dating their ages and standing by their 
seasons at Almack's." One of them (Miss Macdonald), 
indeed, confessed to considering herself an old woman, 
from its being her second season ! 

There is no doubt that the strictness of the rules did 
much to keep up the reputation of Almack's, especially 
when these rules were enforced by such great ladies as 
the Countess of Jersey or the Princess Lieven ; and Lord 
Lamington was perhaps right when he asserted that 
"Almack's was the portal to that select circle of intellect 
and grace which constituted the charm of Society. ' ' But 
at the same time laws enforced by such an iron hand, 
even if the hand was clothed in a velvet glove, must 
have become, after the early glamour of the place wore off 
somewhat, very much akin to tyranny. 

Ticknor, when in this country at a later date (1835), 
found this to some extent, and thus notices it in his Diary : 



" It was very brilliant, as it always is," he writes, " and 
the arrangements for ease and comfort were perfect ; no 
ceremony, no supper ; no regulation or managing ; 
brilliantly lighted large halls, very fine music, plenty of 
dancing. It struck me, however, that there were fewer 
of the leading nobility and fashion there than formerly, 
and that the general cast of the company was 

Some modification of the rules had evidently taken 
place when a visitor could write that there was "no 
regulation or managing " ; and, indeed, in one important 
particular, we know that there had been an alteration, for 
Ticknor, on this very occasion, records that he and his 
party arrived there "just before the doors were closed at 
midnight." 1 

Some five years later a writer in The Quarterly Review 2 
notes this decadence still more insistently, and draws a 
moral from the decline of Almack's, in which he sees "a 
clear proof that the palmy days of exclusiveness are gone 
by in England." "And though," he adds, "it is obvi- 
ously impossible to prevent any given number of persons 
from congregating and re-establishing an oligarchy, we 
are quite sure that the attempt would be ineffectual and 
that the sense of their importance would extend little beyond 
the set." 

It is in these last words which I have italicised that is 
adumbrated the remarkable power of Almack's as it was 
in its prime. Its influence and importance extended far 

1 In a note to a passage in Advice to Julia we read: "It was 
till very lately settled that, even after half-past eleven, the whole 
string of coaches then formed in the street might deposit its 
contents in the ballroom. By this equitable construction many 
were admitted after midnight ; but now (circa 1827), the hour of 
limitation has been enlarged till twelve o'clock and the privilege of 
the string abolished." 

2 For 1840. 



beyond "the set " that composed it. We know that at 
no time had more than two thousand the entree; its 
patronesses numbered not more than six or seven, but its 
fame and importance was a byword throughout the land ; 
its influence was unquestioned ; its power unassailable. 
It stood for the last word of fashion and exclusiveness. 
To be introduced into that magic circle was considered at 
one time as great a distinction as to be presented at Court, 
and was often far more difficult of attainment. 

In the fiction of the period the place figures perpetually ; 
indeed, one novel bears its name, and was one of those 
romans d clef of which the key was supplied by no less a 
person than Disraeli. It was, in a word, the great social 
centre, the holy of holies of fashion, as it were, in London ; 
and if, as he did, Carlyle wailed for the " gum flowers of 
Almack's to be made living roses in a new Eden," he at 
the same time could not help confessing that to a fraction 
of the universe "How will this look in Almack's? ", was 
as insistent a question as "How will this look in the 
universe ? " was to a man of genius. 

Luttrell neatly summarised the place it held in the social 
world when he wrote : 

"If once to Almack's you belong, 
Like monarchs, you can do no wrong ; 
But banished thence on Wednesday night, 
By Jove, you can do nothing right. ' ' 




FROM its earliest days, as we have seen, Almack's was 
identified with a female rule, which at times became as 
overbearing and as despotic as that of the Roman tyrants 
or the Venetian Council of Ten. But if this oligarchy 
bore heavily on those who came within the scope of its 
authority and influence, it was, at the same time, on the 
whole, notable for the fairness with which it administered 
the laws which it had itself formulated. 

The character of the ladies who from time to time 
wielded the sceptre of despotism was, indeed, sufficient to 
guarantee the general absence of any flagrant act of petty 
spite or questionable taste ; and if here and there such 
could be pointed to, they were merely those exceptions 
which we are taught to consider as proving the rule. 

The beauty and the mental endowments of some of the 
great ladies who formed this tribunal of fashion, were alone 
sufficient to account for the power which they arrogated 
to themselves and which characterised every action as 
regards their administration of Almack's. To this was 
added that genius for administration and that love for 
exercising despotic power, which was inherent in others 
whose beauty of person or intellectual attainments would 
hardly have been sufficient to fit them for the post of 

The combination certainly resulted in one of the most 
curious social anomalies of the latter part of the eighteenth, 
and the early years of the nineteenth, century a small 
coterie dominating, without appeal, the whole of the 



Society of London. It was the principle of an effective 
minority carried to its highest power ! 

Of all these patronesses Lady Jersey was, perhaps, the 
most notable. 

This remarkable woman had, from her youth up, 
occupied a leading position in the Society of her day. Her 
amiable manners, her interest in politics, her admirable 
linguistic powers, her kindly, genial nature, all combined 
to give her a sort of prescriptive right to the exalted 
sphere in which she moved. 

She was the daughter of the 10th Earl of Westmor- 
land, and, as Lady Sarah Sophia Fane, had been married 
to the 5th Earl of Jersey, then Viscount Villiers, on 23rd 
May 1804. 1 It is important to be particular about this, 
in order that she may not be confounded with her notori- 
ous mother-in-law, Frances, Countess of Jersey, wife of the 
4th Earl, who died in 1821, and whose connection with 
George IV. largely helped to bring the Crown into the 
discredit which attached to it at that period. 

From 1805, when her husband succeeded to the title, 
till her death, in 1867, Sarah, Lady Jersey, was absolute 
Queen of London Society. Other great ladies, like the 
Marchioness of Londonderry, had greater wealth and 
more imposing houses ; others, like Lady Palmerston, 
were more intimately connected with political matters ; 
others, like the Princess Lieven, were more intellectually 
endowed ; others, like the Duchess of Beaufort, were more 
beautiful ; but not one of them approached Lady Jersey 
in that social sovereignty which she wielded for over half- 

Sir William Fraser, who knew her well, has left the 
following word-picture of this uncrowned queen of 

1 Her mother was Miss Child, daughter of Child, the banker ; 
and it was she who eloped with Lord Westmorland from the 
paternal roof in Berkeley Square. 



fashion : "Lady Jersey never was a beauty. She had a 
grand figure to the last ; never became the least corpulent, 
and, to use a common term, there was obviously no ' make 
up ' about her. A considerable mass of grey hair ; 
dressed, not as a young woman, but as a middle-aged one. 
Entirely in this, as in other things, without affectation, her 
appearance was always pleasant. No trace of rouge nor 
dye could ever be seen about her." This latter remark 
is corroborated by Madame Collore"do, the Austrian 
Ambassadress in London, who, once wishing to give some 
ladies an idea of Lady Jersey's appearance, exclaimed : 
" I will tell you what Lady Jersey was. A quatre-vingt 
ans elle portait une robe de'collete'e ; et elle n'e'tait pas 

"She seemed," continues Sir William, "to take her 
sovereignty as a matter of course : to be neither vain of 
it, nor, indeed, to think much about it. Very quick and 
intelligent, with the strongest sense of humour that I 
have ever seen in a woman ; taking the keenest delight 
in a good joke, and having, I should say, great physical 
enjoyment of life." 

The testimony of Henry Greville bears out substantially 
Sir William Eraser's remarks, although the former allows 
her to have had a greater share of beauty than the 
latter concedes her, and he accounts for her remarkable 
social success "in a more refined and more brilliant 
society than is to be found in our own day" by her 
"great zest and gaiety, rather than her cleverness, 
which constituted her power of attracting remarkable 

Whatever was the cause, the fact remains that "Queen 
Sarah," as she was called, ruled supreme in the realms of 
fashion for half-a-century, and made as few enemies as 
anyone in such an exalted position could be expected to 
do. The late Lord Lamington, who knew her intimately, 
p 225 


recalls for us, in his Days of tlie Dandies, her "kindly 
genial presence," and he helps to let us into the secret of 
her social success when he says of her that " she possessed 
the special knowledge which rendered her society agreeable 
to literary men," and adds that, " her keenness in politics 
placed her at the head, as it made her house the centre, of 
attraction to the then Tory party." 

Such testimonies as these may be supposed to be the 
highly coloured eulogiums of personal acquaintance, but 
when Charles Greville, who, though also a close friend, is 
known never to have spared his friends when estimating 
their characters, thus sums up Lady Jersey's qualities, 
I think we may be satisfied that the consensus of praise 
bestowed upon her was merited : 

" Lady Jersey," writes the diarist, 1 " is an extraordinary 
woman, and has many good qualities : surrounded as she 
is by flatterers and admirers, she is neither proud nor 
conceited. She is full of vivacity, spirit, and good nature, 
but the wide range of her sympathies and affections proves 
that she has more general benevolence than particular 
sensibility in her character. She performs all the ordinary 
duties of life with great correctness, because her heart is 
naturally good ... in conversation she is lively and 
pleasant, without being very remarkable, for she has 
neither wit, nor imagination, nor humour." 

I end the extract at this point to mark more obviously 
the conflicting judgments of contemporaries. Sir William 
Fraser considered that Lady Jersey had a greater sense 
of humour than any other woman with whom he was 
acquainted ; Charles Greville will not allow that she 
possessed this gift at all ! If Sir William was sometimes 
hyperbolic in his expressions, we must remember that 
Greville the Cruncher, as he was familiarly called was 
accustomed to find fault with everyone, and perhaps he 
1 Journals, vol. i., pp. 12-13. 


saw no humour in Lady Jersey because he had not himself 
the humour to detect it. 

Besides her house in Berkeley Square, Lady Jersey 
inherited Osterley Park, with a large fortune, from her 
grandfather, Mr Child, the banker, in these circumstances : 
Mr Child had an only daughter, who, falling in love with 
Lord Burghersh, eldest son of the Earl of Westmorland, 
eloped with him, and although closely followed by her 
angry father, reached Gretna Green just and only just 
in time to be married. Finding himself powerless to do 
anything further, Child determined, at least, to prevent 
any of his fortune from going direct to his daughter, and 
he therefore made a will leaving the whole of it to any 
daughter that might be born of the marriage, and Lady 
Sarah Fane, afterwards Countess of Jersey, was the lucky 

It is said that a few days before the elopement Lord 
Burghersh, dining with Mr Child, put to him the question 
as to what he should do if he were in love with a girl and 
could not gain her parents' consent to a marriage, when 
the unsuspecting banker replied : " Elope with her, to be 
sure " ; on which parental advice the young man promptly 

On Lord Jersey's marrying Lady Sarah he took the 
name of Child in addition to his own of Villiers ; and there 
still hangs in a room in Child's Bank, Lawrence's full- 
length portrait of Lady Jersey surely a more beautiful 
partner than bank ever had before or since. 

Another great influence in the debates of Almack's 
powerful committee was Lady Londonderry, the wife of a 
distinguished member of the peerage as well as a brilliant 
soldier, the 3rd Marquis of Londonderry, and sister-in-law 
of the celebrated Lord Castlereagh, who died by his own 
hand in 1822, and to whom her husband succeeded in the 
marquisate. Very rich, and possessing fine houses, both 

227 1 


in London and the country, it is hardly to be wondered at 
that these advantages, coupled with her double connection 
with politics and the Army, should have enabled Lady 
Londonderry to compass such social power as she had a 
mind to; but, notwithstanding this, she never attained 
anything approaching the influence wielded by Lady 
Jersey, or the authority in matters of fashion of Lady 

This latter lady had a singularly eventful career. The 
daughter of the 1st Lord Melbourne, she married, as the 
Hon. Emily Mary Lamb, the 5th Earl Cowper, on 21st 
July 1805 ; he died in 1837, and his widow, two years 
afterwards, became the wife of the 3rd Lord Palmerston. 
As her brother was one Prime Minister, and her second 
husband another, she may be said to have grasped politics 
with both hands. 

But it was perhaps owing to this very circumstance that 
she was never able to restrict herself to that exclusiveness 
which so greatly helped to enhance the reputation and 
solidify the power of Lady Jersey. 

But she played her part admirably, and whether she 
was assisting at some of the mysteries of Almack's, or was 
presiding over the splendid entertainments with which 
she shed a lustre over Cambridge House, 1 she was always 
affable, always interested, always conciliating; and if 
many of the ephemeral quarrels of Almack's were smoothed 
away by her ready wit and ever-present tact; it is as 
certain that the power of the "frolicsome statesman the 
man of the day," as Locker-Lampson calls him was con- 
solidated and extended by the careful watchfulness of his 

1 No. 94 Piccadilly, once the residence of the Earls of Egremont, 
later of the Marquis of Cholmondeley, then of the Duke of 
Cambridge (whence its name), who died here in 1850, when Lord 
Palmerston took it. It is now the Naval and Military the " In 
and Out "Club. 



better half. If such a testimony were required, the pages 
of Henry Greville's diary would be sufficient to show that 
Lady Palmerston fully shared her husband's confidence, 
not only in private but in political matters, and there is 
little doubt that much of his popularity and success was 
due to her loving co-operation. 

Lady Sefton, another of the oligarchy of Almack's, was 
altogether a different character ; and, indeed, it was prob- 
ably this happy mixture of different temperaments and 
varied interests that combined to make that oligarchy as 
powerful as it undoubtedly was. 

Lady Sefton, nee Maria Margaret, daughter of the 6th 
Lord Craven, was the wife of that famous bon-vivant and 
gambler, the 2nd Earl of Sefton, the friend of the Regent 
and the companion of Brummell, who, in spite of being 
"a gigantic hunchback," as Gronow records, was one of 
the dandies of the day, and a fine horseman. 

Lady Sefton was, on the same authority, both kind 
and amiable, and she probably left much of the judicial 
accepting or refusing of candidates for entrance into 
Almack's, to the severer judgments of some of her assistant 

One of these, who, we may be sure, carefully scrutinised 
every application of this sort, and judicially weighed the 
merits or otherwise of those who sought the much-coveted 
cards, was the haughty and exclusive Princess Lieven, one 
of the two foreigners who became patronesses. 

Dorothea Christorovna Benckendorff, for such was her 
maiden name, was in all respects a very remarkable 
woman ; and whereas in most cases their connection with 
Almack's has alone caused many of the lady patronesses 
to be remembered at all, in hers, it was but an incident in 
her career as a female politician of the first rank: 

This being so, a few words about her history will not be 
inappropriate. She was born on 17th December 1785, at 



Riga, where her father was military commandant ; so 
that from her earliest years she was accustomed to the 
atmosphere of rule and political activity. 

Educated at the Smolny Convent School, she was, on 
leaving it, appointed Maid of Honour to the Empress of 
Russia in 1799, and in 1800 was married to Lieutenant- 
General Count Lieven. Nine years later her husband was 
appointed Russian Envoy to Prussia, when she had her 
first opportunity of publicly exhibiting those precocious 
talents as a hostess and a talker with which she had been 
credited at an even earlier period. In 1811 Count Lieven 
was promoted to be Ambassador to the Court of St James's, 
having for his chief object the resumption of those friendly 
relations between this country and Russia, which had 
been for a time suspended in consequence of the Peace 
of Tilsit. 

Settled in this country, the Countess Lieven seems to 
have become quite as politically active as her husband, 
and her relations with such men as Aberdeen and 
Wellington, Canning and Grey, Palmerston and Peel, 
were of the closest ; while her letters are eloquent of her 
varying estimation of those with whom she was thus 
brought in contact. On the other hand, the opinion of 
some of these politicians as regards the lady herself was 
not always flattering, and Wellington once bluntly as- 
serted to Raikes that she would betray everyone in turn 
if it happened to suit her purpose ; a sentiment which 
Palmerston echoed, although with less cause, perhaps, as 
the Countess Lieven had been, politically, of much use to 

As may be supposed, her name frequently occurs in the 
various memoirs and journals of the day, particularly in 
the diaries of the two Grevilles, where she is shown to be 
so obviously au courant with all the twists and turns 
of contemporary politics, that one wonders why such a 



lesser light as her husband troubled to interfere in them 
at all ! "Her cleverness," we are told, 1 "was generally 
recognised, but her tact was shown rather in her fastidious- 
ness than by her geniality, and the impression she pro- 
duced was that she was as fully conscious of her own 
superiority as she was of the inferiority of those with 
whom she was brought in daily contact." 

No wonder that it was also commonly said that she con- 
sidered herself more competent to advance the interests 
of her country, than the Emperor and his Ministers com- 
bined. This, indeed, was the keynote of her character an 
overweening sense of her own importance, which may not 
always be a fatal attribute ; but also an absolute disdain 
for the qualities of those opposed to her, which is nearly 
always so. Her power, however, of extracting confidences 
from those whose knowledge might be useful to her, and 
a tireless following-up of the advantages thus gained, 
were undoubtedly great. 

With such qualities it is not so difficult to realise that 
her position as one of the patronesses of Almack's was one 
which added that peculiar strength most required by that 
body, but was also one which could hardly fail to strike 
dismay into those who might have hoped to pass the 
magic portals during some temporary lapse on the part of 
other members of the tribunal. One could surely never 
hope to evade the lynx-like vigilance of the Russian 

She emphasised her term of office by introducing the 
waltz into these aristocratic assemblies, and many of the 
references to her in the memoirs and diaries of the period 
are confined to her connection with Almack's. 

In 1834 the Lievens were recalled to Russia, but we 

find the Princess, for her husband had been created a 

Prince, in this country again during the troublous year 

1 By Mr L. G. Robinson, who edited her Letters in 1902. 


1848, when she followed Guizot hither. Two years 
later she took up her residence in Paris where, in 1857, 
she died in the house that had once before sheltered 
another great political spirit no unfitting male counter- 
part to the Princess Talleyrand. 

The Princess Lieven was one of the two foreigners who 
helped to direct the destinies of Almack's, the Princess 
Esterhazy l was the other. B orn Princess Theresa of Thurn 
and Taxis, she married Prince Esterhazy, the Austrian 
Ambassador, and with him became closely connected with 
the fashionable life of this country, inasmuch as they 
were both members of Almack's. 

Gronow speaks of the Princess being continually seen 
waltzing with the Baron de Neumann, the Secretary to 
the Austrian Embassy, and in the Sketch of a Ball at 
Almack's in 1815, she is delineated, most ungracefully it 
must be confessed, dancing with the Comte St Antonio, 
afterwards Duke of Canizzaro, a noted lady-killer and 
dandy, who subsequently married Miss Johnson. 

Princess Lieven, in one of her gossiping letters, describes 
the Princess Esterhazy as " small, round, black, animated, 
and somewhat spiteful," and adds that, although she was 
" a great-niece of the Queen of England, through her 
mother, the Princess of Thurn and Taxis," yet "this 
relationship gives her no sort of precedence here, as she 
is regarded as belonging to the corps diplomatique." 

However much she may have identified herself with the 
social life of the country to which her husband had been 
accredited, it can hardly be supposed that the Princess's 
knowledge of the various grades of our society a 

1 She must not be confounded with Lady Sarah Villiers, daughter 
of Lord Jersey, who married Prince Nicholas Esterhazy in 1842. 
See Raikes, vol. iv., p. 192. Raikes, by the by, erroneously states 
that Princess Lieven was the only foreigner ever made a patroness 
of Almack's (vol. i., p. 234). 



notoriously difficult subject for foreigners would have been 
extensive enough to enable her very closely to discrimin- 
ate between who should and who should not be admitted 
within the walls of Almack's ; and we can therefore only 
regard her as adding strength to the committee by her 
high birth, natural love of etiquette (for she was, we 
remember, of a royal German house) and, perhaps, by 
her "spitefulness," if such existed outside the rather 
atrabilious imagination of the Princess Lieven. 

The last of the oligarchy to be mentioned is Mrs 
Drummond Burrell, who afterwards became Lady 
Willoughby de Eresby, the only surviving child of James, 
Lord Perth, who, had not the title been forfeited as a 
result of the then Earl of Perth's sympathies with the Old 
Pretender, would have been llth Earl of Perth, and his 
daughter consequently Lady Clementina Drummond. 

Miss Drummond, as she, however, was, married in 1807 
Peter Robert Burrell, one of the dandies of the day. On 
his marriage he assumed his wife's family name in con- 
junction with his own. His father had been created 
Lord Gwydyr, and in 1820 he succeeded to that title; 
his mother was Lady Willoughby de Eresby in her own 
right, and in 1828 he also succeeded to this title, which 
carries with it the great post of Joint Hereditary Grand 
Chamberlain, in which office he acted at the Coronation 
of Queen Victoria, and for which he had acted as deputy 
at that of George IV. 

Both Mr and Mrs Drummond Burrell were at one time 
intimate friends of the latter monarch, but there would 
appear to have arisen a coolness between them for a 
period, according to a passage in one of Princess Lieven 's 
letters to her son. wherein she writes : 

"Do you recollect Mrs Burrell, and do you remember 
how she was turned out of the Prince Regent's circle? 
Well, now she is one of the King's select and most 



intimate group. He does not give audience to his 
Ministers but he receives Mrs Burrell." 

There is a sting in these lines which may or may not 
have been intended ; in any case the friendship between 
the King and Mrs Burrell was of a purely platonic nature, 
and if there had been a temporary discontinuance of it, 
this may have arisen from the fact that Mrs Burrell was 
a close friend of Lady Hertford, and probably, on Lady 
Jersey's rise to favour, the King was little inclined to see 
much of the friend of the discarded favourite. 

However, the Bun-ells, as we see, were again on the old 
terms of intimacy with the Sovereign, and it was to the 
husband (become Lord Gwydyr) that the King applied 
to know the feelings of the dandies as to his treatment of 
Queen Caroline, when it was known to be the intention of 
that ill-used woman to try to force a way into the Abbey, 
on the occasion of the Coronation. "It is not favourable 
to your Majesty," replied Lord Gwydyr. " I care nothing 
for the mob," said George IV., " but I do for the dandies " ; 
and he sought Lord Gwydyr 's advice as to the best means 
of propitiating this formidable body. The latter sug- 
gested his Majesty's inviting them to a breakfast some- 
where near the Abbey as a means of keeping them in a 
good humour, which advice was promptly acted upon. 

This anecdote is interesting as showing the power 
wielded by a set of men whose chief objects in life were 
dressing well and gambling heavily. 



IT seems fitting that some account of Almack himself 
should precede that of the notable men who helped to 
make his rooms famous, but the difficulty is that the 
material at my command is of the most meagre. Indeed, 
the very year of his birth is unknown, which is a bad 
beginning when one is attempting to describe a man's life. 
Again, it seems uncertain whether he came of a Scottish, 
an Irish or a Yorkshire family, one version giving it that 
he was descended from Yorkshire Quaker stock ; another 
that he was a "sturdy Celt from Galloway or Atholl, 
called MacCaul.*' 

It is generally believed that his original name was 
Macall and that he changed it, by a process of inversion, 
to Almack, when he first started as club proprietor, on 
account of the odium into which anything Scottish had 
fallen at this period (about the middle) of the eighteenth 
century. But this is based a good deal on conjecture, 
and in Notes and Queries a number of letters and other 
communications on the subject leave the matter not much 
clearer than it was before. 

Personally I am inclined to think that no such change 
was ever attempted. Almack is as common a name as 
Macall, although neither is frequently met with; and 
surely if a man had wanted to hide his origin he could 
have done so more skilfully and more successfully than 
by merely playing a conjuring trick with the letters of 
his name. 

What does seem to be established is that Almack was 



at one time valet to the 5th Duke of Hamilton, and 
that while in this capacity he became acquainted with 
Elizabeth Cullen, elder daughter of William Cullen of 
Sanches, Lanarkshire, who was a waiting-maid to the 
Duchess, and whom he subsequently married. 

About the middle of the eighteenth century he, like so 
many of his countrymen, turned his eyes southward, 
and, coming to London, he became the proprietor of 
The Thatched House Tavern. 

Here used to assemble at various times the many clubs 
that had selected the place as their headquarters. No 
fewer than twenty-six are given by Timbs, as well as nine 
Masonic lodges which held their mysterious revels here. 
Chief among the clubs were the Catch Club, the Linnean 
Club, the Literary Society, the Royal Society Club and 
the Dilettanti Society. 

The large room of The Tavern was once hung with 
portraits of the various members of the last-named, 
and Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was one of them, painted 
for the society three important works, two of which 
were groups of the Dilettanti, "in the manner of Paul 
Veronese," and the third a portrait of the great painter 

Timbs says that Willis took The Tavern from a Mr 
Freere about the year 1755, but it was Almack himself 
who did this, Willis succeeding him, as he did, in the 
proprietorship of "The Rooms." 

The success of this venture induced Almack to seek 
further fields to conquer, with the result that, certainly 
previous to the year 1763, he had opened the club in Pall 
Mall which went by his name and which was notable for 
the extent of the gambling that was carried on there, even 
at a time when gambling was practically universal. 

This club was established on the site of the British In- 
stitution buildings, and Almack appears to have been backed 



in his venture by no fewer than twenty-seven noblemen and 
gentlemen, among whom the Dukes of Roxburghe and 
Portland, 1 Lord Strathmore, Mr Crewe and Charles James 
Fox may be mentioned. 

Some of the rules are instructive : thus No. 22 lays 
down that "Dinner shall be served up exactly at half-past 
four o'clock, and the bill shall be brought in at seven " ; 
while No. 40 orders "That every person playing at the 
new guinea table do keep fifty guineas before him.'* 

I am not here writing the history of the club or I 
might startle this more sober age by some records of 
the gambling there, but something of it may be surmised 
by a reference to the similar records of such clubs as 
The Cocoa Tree, and Brooks's and Crockford's, where, 
as we have seen, men won and lost large fortunes at a 

With the proceeds of his two clubs, which must have 
amounted to a very large sum in a very small space of 
time, Almack erected the Rooms in King Street, St 
James's, which are more individually connected with 
his career and, it is likely, will serve to perpetuate his 
name better than the club by which he first became 

It is unnecessary to say anything here of the building 
or its habitues, as I have dealt with this subject in the 
preceding chapters. Nor is there much more to be said 
of their proprietor. 

We know from an extract from one of Gilly Williams 's 
letters, which I have already quoted, that he was in the 
habit of attending to his guests himself and personally 
superintending his fashionable establishment, and that 
his wife was an efficient coadjutor in this respect. 

It may also be remarked that if he did change his name, 

1 The 3rd Duke, who was First Lord of the Treasury from 1807 
to 1809. 



it did not deceive Gilly Williams, who speaks, as we have 
seen, of his " Scotch face." 

Almack is said to have lived during the latter years of 
his life at Hounslow, and to have amassed great wealth. 
He died on 3rd January 1781, and in the Morning 
Chronicle for 6th January is an obituary notice of him. 

Among other provisions of his will he left the manage- 
ment of the famous Rooms to a niece, who had married 
the Mr Willis after whom they began, in later days, to 
be called. 

This bequest is consistent with the fact that Almack 
left the actual property to his daughter, who had previously 
become the wife of David Pitcairn, F.R.S., F.S.A., M.D., 
and Physician - Extraordinary to the Prince of Wales. 
Almack also had a son, William, who is known to have 
been called to the Bar, but who probably predeceased 
his father. 

In the early days of Almack 's popularity the men who 
affected it, or perhaps I should say who were permitted 
to enter its sacred portals, were the cream of the fine 
gentlemen of the period. Horace Walpole was of it, 
almost as a matter of course ; so was George Selwyn ; but 
alas ! his bosom friend, my Lord March, was rejected, as 
we have seen. Gilly Williams, we may be sure, entered 
it pretty freely, for many a letter of his contains notes of 
its doings. 

The Dukes of Cumberland, both he of Culloden notoriety 
and he of fast life fame, assisted at its entertainments. 
One supposes, too, that my Lord Upper Ossory came 
pretty frequently to meet "Graf ton's Grace," with whom 
he was subsequently to run away. 

But in the early days of Almack 's it was the ladies who 
ruled supreme and whose doings are chiefly chronicled in 
the gossiping letters of the period. During its second phase 
of popularity, this same characteristic also distinguished 



it ; but at the same time there arose that remark- 
able set of men whom I may collectively term "The 
Dandies," and these and their doings and sayings made 
as great a stir as even the goings and comings of the 
beautiful and witty women with whom they associated. 
The late Lord Lamington wrote of "The Days of the 
Dandies " ; a French writer of to-day has treated of 
"Dandyism," and incidentally of its chief exponents; 
and Barbey D'Aurevilly has left a little masterpiece on 
Brummell, the greatest of the Dandies ; and yet the sub- 
ject is never quite stale. The fact is that the Dandies 
were not mere clothes-horses ; they all, or nearly all of 
them, were men of something above ordinary ability, and 
they certainly proved, what many slovenly men of genius, 
and many who think themselves men of genius because 
they are slovenly, have affected to doubt, that it is possible 
to possess brains and yet wear good coats ; that a fop is 
not necessarily a fool ; in a word, that fine feathers, if they 
do not make, at least well become, fine birds ! 

By common consent the greatest of the Dandies, in the 
earlier days of the movement, was Brummell ; while the 
greatest wearer of his mantle (and what a cut that mantle 
had!) at a later period was Count D'Orsay. 

I shall try to say a few words about these two notable 
men, as well as about a number of lesser stars that shone, 
sometimes by their own radiance, more often perhaps in 
the reflected glory of these twin luminaries. 

Brummell 's is an heroic figure, although perhaps not 
many people would be prepared to distinguish him by this 
particular adjective ; but still an heroic figure, if you 
think for a moment of the position he achieved, the power 
he wielded, and then remember his stock-in-trade, as it 
were, for the character of conqueror. With 30,000, a love 
of clean shirts and an unparalleled aplomb, he made 
himself adored by half the society of London and feared 



by the whole. Royal dukes attended his morning levees ; 
the greatest nobles in the land were proud to watch the 
progress of his toilette, and he he spoke to them as if they 
were lackeys ; he criticised their clothes as if they were 
liveries. How was it done ? Fifteen hundred a year in 
the 5 per cents, was not good enough, even then, to place 
anyone on such a footing as he attained. 

The fact is that Society likes to be bullied, especially if 
the bully be one whom it knows to be socially beneath it ; 
it is something like permitting a spoiled child to take 
liberties. And this child did take liberties. " Do you call 
that thing a coat? " he once asked his Grace of Bedford, 
the head of the Russells, the owner of how much of 
London. "In Heaven's name, my dear Duchess, what 
is the meaning of that extraordinary back of yours ? I 
declare I must put you on a back-board ; you must 
positively walk out of the room backwards, that I mayn't 
see it," he once had the "audacious effrontery," as Lady 
Hester Stanhope says, to remark to the Duchess of Rut- 
land in the midst of a great ball. On another occasion he 
walked up to Lady Hester himself and coolly took out the 
earrings she was wearing, as an indication that he con- 
sidered they hid the turn of her neck, which is said to have 
been very beautiful. " Port ? Port ? oh, port ! oh, ay ; 
what! the hot intoxicating liquor so much drunk by 
the lower orders ? " he lisped to someone who asked him 
if he liked the wine. He was annoyed because an 
acquaintance once reminded him of a debt of 500 ; " and 
yet," he almost pathetically exclaimed, "I had called 
the dog Tom, and let myself dine with him ! " His 
batterie de toilette was of silver, for, said he, "'tis im- 
possible for a gentleman to spit in clay," knowing full 
well that his auditors, probably a few stray dukes, 
were not accustomed to spit in anything else. And so 
on, and so on, down to the impudence of, "Wales, 



ring the bell," and the sublimity of "Who's your fat 
friend ? " 

The stories are as well known as Sydney Smith's 
witticisms or Sheridan's impromptu bons mots. 

Brummell was no fool we have Lady Hester Stan- 
hope's word for that; indeed, the whole thing was a 
skilfully thought-out pose, which took on with the blase 
society in which Brummell moved; and how well for a 
time it succeeded let Captain Jesse, with his two octavo 
volumes on the subject, attest. 

Here is a vignette of the Beau's customary toilet-leve'e 
given by Lady Hester : " Sometimes he would have a 
dozen dukes and marquises waiting for him whilst he was 
brushing his teeth or dressing himself, and would turn 
round with the utmost coolness and say to them : ' Well, 
what do you want ? Don't you see I am brushing my 
teeth ? ' Then he would cry : ' Oh ! there's a spot ah ! 
it's nothing but a little coffee. Well, this is an excellent 
powder, but I won't let any of you have the receipt for it. ' ' 

And yet day after day would this fashionable crowd 
congregate to see that wonderful ceremony no other 
word will serve of the toilet of George Bryan Brummell 
that ceremony which took up the best part of the morning. 
I need not recapitulate Jesse's minute account of it; 
suffice it to say that as much trouble, care and time, was 
expended on the cravat alone as would have sufficed a 
mere man to make a fortune ; and, in a sense, it was a 
fortune that the dandy was making. 

The Regent once said that he was "a mere tailor's 
dummy to hang clothes on " ; but this was unfair coming 
from such lips, for George, Prince of Wales, owed much of 
his sartorial fame to Brummell. He copied his garments : 
he used to give as much as 100 a-piece for the patterns 
of those fine chintz dressing-gowns which the Beau had 
introduced; he wore the trouser which the dandy had 
Q 241 


imported from Germany, and he let his friend starve 
when he had done with him ! 

I don't know that Brummell had much wit ; one or two 
stories seem, indeed, to indicate some faint glimmer of it, 
but his mental stock-in-trade was his impudence. 

Here is a sheaf of anecdotes from the Brummell 
repertoire. All the world knows of his once staying in a 
country house, and asking a friend whom the distinguished- 
looking man was leaning against the mantelpiece. 
" Why, your host ; don't you know him ? " " Know him ! 
No, why should I ? I have never been invited here ! " 
But this curious liking for visiting houses uninvited 
curious, inasmuch as Brummell practically had the entree 
anywhere once led to another and less successful example 
of his impertinence. Two ladies named Johnson and 
Thompson, living respectively in Finsbury Square and 
Grosvenor Square, both gave a party on the same night, 
and the Beau was invited to the house of the former. 
He, however, elected to shed the light of his countenance 
on the Grosvenor Square assembly, where he hoped to 
meet the Regent, with whom he was not then on terms 
of amity. On his arrival, Mrs Thompson, forgetting her 
politeness in her annoyance, and probably fearing the loss 
of the Regent's favour if he found his enemy within her 
walls, asked Brummell to leave. The latter, making 
many apologies, drew slowly from his pocket the invitation 
he had received from the lady of Finsbury Square and 
tendered it to Mrs Thompson as his reason for being in 
her rooms. Being indignantly informed that her name 
was Thompson and not Johnson, "Dear me, how very 
unfortunate," replied he, "but you know Johnson and 
Thompson I mean Thompson and Johnson are so very 
much alike. Mrs Johnson Thompson, I wish you good 

He was once in the 10th Hussars, but left that crack 



regiment when the order went forth that it was to be 
stationed at Manchester Manchester ! 

One cannot imagine Brummell as a soldier, attending 
drill, looking after his men, fighting surely far too vulgar 
a pursuit ! Indeed, he is traditionally said to have known 
his corps only by the large nose of one of the men ; and 
when the latter was drafted into another regiment, 
Brummell went up to it, on parade, a,nd pointed out the 
nasal organ as a proof that it was his regiment. 

If he was ever witty, then the remark he made to 
"Poodle " Byng may be regarded as a slender proof of it, for, 
meeting Byng driving with a caniche by his side, he called 
out : "Ah, how d'ye do, Byng ! a family vehicle I see." 

On another occasion he was reproached by the father 
of a certain young man for having led astray and ruined 
the latter : "Why, sir," he replied, "I did all I could for 
him. I once gave him my arm all the way from White's 
to Brooks 's." 

It is sad to have to confess that this " glass of fashion " 
acted sometimes in a way that a coal-heaver would have 
been ashamed of doing. Once at a dinner-party he 
questioned the quality of the champagne, and called out 
to the servant not to give him " any more of that cider " ; 
at another time, finding a chicken wing too tough for his 
delicate jaws, he took it up in his napkin and flung it to 
his dog for he insisted on taking the only thing he prob- 
ably ever cared for with him, even to strange houses 
exclaiming : "Here, Atons, see if you can get your teeth 

through it, for I'm d d if I can." Which is on a par 

with the horrible grimaces he used to make if the flavour 
of a dish did not please him, or he thought he detected 
some foreign substance in the soup. 

Often as the fear or politeness of his host or hostess 
allowed such ill manners to go unreproved, Brummell 
sometimes met more than his match in these encounters, 



and whenever this was the case, he showed his lack of 
repartee and not infrequently his fear of chastisement. 

Once he was airily taking away someone's character 
when a friend of the absent one demanded satisfaction or 
an apology in five minutes. "Five minutes! in five 
seconds," replied the trembling Beau, as he stammered 
out his regrets. 

But it was Lord Mayor Combe who voiced what many 
people thought, but hardly liked to express, of the char- 
acter of Brummell. The scene was Brooks's, and the 
brewer (for Combe was of the great firm which still exists) 
and Beau were playing together: "Come, Mash-tub," 
cried the latter, "what do you set?" "A pony," was 
the reply, which Brummell won, together, it is said, with 
eleven more "ponies." "Thank you, Alderman; in 
future I shall drink no porter but yours. " " I wish," was 
the reply, " that every other blackgwrd in London would 
tell me the same. " 

But one must make an end, and these are but a tithe of 
the stories connected with the Beau. As I have indicated, 
they show but two things one, that, like all bullies by 
nature, he disregarded entirely people's feelings, and the 
other, that he cut a very poor figure when he met his match. 

An illustration in Captain Gronow's book shows him as 
he appeared at Almack's, in 1815, in company with the 
Duchess of Rutland (whose back gave him such pain), 
the Comte de St Antonio, afterwards Due di Canizzaro, 
and the Princess Esterhazy, one of the most potent of 
the patronesses. 

The original sketch in water-colours of this picture was 
presented to Brummell by the artist. At the sale of the 
dandy's effects in Chapel Street, Mayfair, it was purchased 
by a friend of Gronow's, who subsequently gave it to him. 

Here is Gronow's description of the people depicted, 
whom he considered "well worthy of notice, both from 



the position they held in the fashionable world, and from 
their being represented with great truth and accuracy." 

"The great George Brummell," he proceeds, "the 
Admirable Crichton of the age, stands in a degage attitude, 
with his fingers in his waistcoat pocket. His neckcloth is 
inimitable, and must have cost him much time and trouble 
to arrive at such perfection, as the following anecdote 
shows : A friend calling on the Beau saw the valet with 
an armful of flowing white cravats and asked him if his 
master wanted so many at once. 'These, sir, are our 
failures, ' was the reply. ' Clean linen and plenty of it, ' was 
BrummeU's maxim. He is talking earnestly to the charm- 
ing Duchess of Rutland, who was a Howard and mother 
to the present Duke. 1 The tall man in a black coat, who 
is preferring to waltz with Princess Esterhazy, so long 
Ambassadress of Austria in London, is the Comte de St 
Antonio, afterwards Duke of Canizzaro. He resided many 
years in England, was a very handsome man and a great 
lady-killer ; he married an English heiress, Miss Johnson." 

Other personages who figured in the same sketch were 
Charles, Marquis of Queensberry ; Baron de Neumann, then 
Secretary to the Austrian Embassy ; Sir George Warrender 
(who was styled by his friends Sir George Provender, 
being famed for his good dinners); and the Comte St 
Aldegonde, then aide-de-camp to the Duke of Orleans, 
afterwards Louis-Philippe. 

Chief among the Dandies, after Brummell, were Lords 
Alvanley, Worcester, and Foley, Charles Standish, Brad- 
shaw, Henry de Ros, John Mills, Henry Pierrepoint, 
Hervey Aston, the Duke of Argyll, "Dan" Mackinnon, 
Edward Montagu, "Rufus" Lloyd and George Dawson 
Darner; while to these names may be added those of 
several well-known men about town, who, if not exactly 

1 She was Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the 5th Earl of 
Carlisle, and married the 5th Duke of Rutland in 1799. 



beaux, at least were in the first flight of fashion and 
consequently qualified to shine as they frequently did 
at Almack's. 

Of these were "King "Allen, "Ball" Hughes, the 
"Silent " Hare, Jack Talbot, "Teapot " Crawfurd, "Kan- 
garoo " Cooke, Scrope Davies and "Poodle " Byng. The 
great D'Orsay deserves a niche to himself and shall have it, 
after I have said a word about some of these lesser Dandies. 

Perhaps the greatest of them was Lord Alvanley; 
certainly, if tradition is to be believed, he was one of the, 
if not the, wittiest. Just as at a former period all the good 
things were attributed to Sheridan and, at a later day, to 
Sydney Smith, so in the early years of the nineteenth 
century were all the witticisms set down to the account of 
Alvanley. A contemporary, in an enthusiastic outburst, 
calls him "the magnificent, the witty, the famous and 
the chivalrous," and asserts that he was "the idol of the 
clubs and of Society, from the King to the ensign of the 
Guards." Which would sound hyperbolic did we not 
know that he had lived in nearly all the Courts of Europe 
and was not only a remarkable linguist but an excellent 
classical scholar, and that his 'naivete was such that it 
exercised a charm over all who knew him. But when 
this has been said I don't know that his life would be 
considered as an example for youth, although possibly 
an excellent tract might be made out of it. 

Living in the society he did, it goes without saying that 
he was extravagant, cynical and, if not exactly what one 
would call immoral, certainly not up to the ethical standard 
which stern moralists would require. 

But his dinners were perfect indeed, the best in London 
at the time, and a good dinner hides a host of delinquencies. 
There were, indeed, giants in those days, and Alvanley 
was of them. He had a passion for apricots, and ordered 
a tart of this fruit to be served every day throughout the 



year. Fearful of the expense his cook remonstrated. 
11 Go to Gunter's," exclaimed his lordship, "and buy all 
the preserved apricots he has, and don't bother me 

any more about the d d expense." This was an 

easy way out of the difficulty, for it was a notorious 
fact that Alvanley never by any chance paid ready 
money for anything. Which, by the by, gives point 
to the story that his friend Armstrong asked him, on 
once being shown a fine hunter, how much he had paid 
for it. "I awe Milton three hundred guineas for it," was 
the tranquil reply. 

The fact is that, although he inherited from his father 
a considerable income, he was perennially in debt and, like 
Digby Grant, he "had no ready money for anybody." 
Not that this seems to have greatly troubled him; and 
Moore tells a story of his writing to a friend on one occa- 
sion thus: "I have no credit with either butcher or 
poulterer, but if you can put up with turtle and turbot 
I shall be happy to see you." 

He had, too, a happy turn for impromptus and 
repartees, of the former of which gifts the following is 
an example : He was driving with Berkeley Craven when 
their carriage broke down and the latter got out to thrash 
the coachman for carelessness, but, finding he was an old 
fellow, said: 'Your age protects you," whereupon 
Alvanley advanced to administer chastisement to the 
postilion, when, observing that he was a young athletic- 
looking fellow, he exclaimed in a waggish way: "Your 
youth protects you." 

There is, too, the story variously told of his being 
shown the beautiful decorations of his house by a parvenu 
millionaire, supposed to have been Mr Neeld, what time 
dinner was awaiting them, when Alvanley, bored and 
hungry, exclaimed: "Let's leave the gilding and come 
to the carving." 



He had also a knack of fixing nicknames which stuck, 
one of the best being that applied to Lord Conyngham, to 
whom Canning had given an appointment out of defer- 
ence, it was supposed, to George IV. ; he went about 
calling him Canningham. 

Another bon mot which was set down to his account 
was the remark apropos of Brummell's departure for the 
Continent in consequence of the pressure put on him by 
Soloman, the notorious moneylender of the time. "He 
did quite right to be off ; it was Soloman's judgment." 

Alvanley was intimate with Talleyrand, that master of 
mots, and there is little doubt that his wits were sharpened 
by many a "set-to" with this redoubtable antagonist. 
Indeed, as Raikes says, his amiable manners and his 
talents made him a welcome guest everywhere, and he 
numbered among his friends the great ones of half the 
countries of Europe. 

As a politician he held no mean rank, although he was 
one of those who cared not for office. His pamphlet on 
the state of Ireland shows that he could present a case in 
clear and forcible language ; but, politically, he is best 
remembered by his conflict with O'Connell, who called 
him a " bloated buffoon " and whom he immediately 
challenged. The gage was taken up by the agitator's 
son, and the parties met and exchanged more shots than 
was at the time considered necessary ; however, none of 
them took effect, but the encounter enhanced Alvanley 's 
reputation as a wit and confirmed him as a man of courage, 
for to the coachman who drove him to and from the ground 
he gave a sovereign, and when the man observed that it 
was more than his due (one wonders, by the by, where 
that sort of cabby is to be found nowadays !) he replied : 
"It is not for carrying me there, my good fellow, but for 
bringing me back." 

It was characteristic of the man that when someone 



told him that the world was indebted to him for calling 
out O'Connell he should reply : "I'm glad to hear it, for 
now the world and I are quits." 

That he did not desert his friends is proved by his 
letters to Brummell when the latter was in exile at Calais, 
which oftener than not contained substantial cheques, 
although he could not resist a harmless pleasantry on the 
Beau, whom he termed the one and only Dandelion of 
fashion, most lions being annuals, but Brummell being 

Alvanley was an altogether superior man to many of 
those who surrounded him and made up the sum of those 
Dandies who gave an added brilliance to Almack's and the 
other haunts of fashion. 

If he was extravagant, extravagance was in the air, and 
one could hardly be the friend of the Duke of York and 
make a reputation as a man of fashion under the Regency 
without a continual loosening of the purse-strings. 1 

Of many of the Dandies who graced Almack's assemblies 
there is, in truth, but little to be said. They passed across 
the stage of fashion and have left in the memoirs of their 
day here and there a trace of their passage, but hardly 
material for any particular delineation. 

Such men as Lord Worcester, 2 Lord Foley and the Duke 
of Argyll, of course, have a place in the noble annals of 
the land from their position as hereditary legislators as 
well as that of leaders of fashion. Such as Pierrepoint, 
Standish, Bradshaw and Mills, may be regarded as almost 
international types, being as much en evidence in the 
dandified circles of Paris as in those of London ; while 

1 There is a coloured caricature by Deighton, representing 
Alvanley going to White's, dated 1819, see page 177. 

2 Afterwards 7th Duke of Beaufort, and noted, like all the 
Somerset family, for his inherent courtliness and charm of 



many of the others are really but names et praeterea 
nihil ! 

Truth to tell, the lives of most Dandies was but a dress- 
ing and an undressing, a preparation for conquest, a 
repetition of conquests. Danton's de Vaudace, de Vaudace, 
et toujours de Vaudace, might well have stood for their 

But about the phantoms of some of those I have men- 
tioned anecdotes have clustered, and before I say a word 
about the greatest and last of them, Count D'Orsay, it 
may not be uninteresting to rescue one or two of these for 
the reader's amusement. 

It will be observed that several of the Dandies have been 
distinguished by nicknames, almost a certain proof that 
they have made some stir in the world of fashion if 
nowhere else. 

"Teapot" Crawfurd is a case in point, and he was 
certainly one of those who bore out Wellington's assertion 
that the Dandies fought splendidly in Spain. He was in 
the 10th Hussars, and even in that crack regiment his 
immense strength, handsome appearance and proverbial 
bravery, made him a marked man. 

When his regiment was inspected by the Prince 
Regent before leaving for the Peninsula his Royal 
Highness, who was always ready with a generous and 
appropriate word, is said to have exclaimed to him : 
"Go, my boy, and show the world what stuff you are 
made of. You possess strength, youth and courage ; go 
and conquer." 

The field of Orthes, where he was in the front of 
the charge, could witness that these words were not 
exaggerated or thrown away upon him. 

He married Lady Barbara Coventry and made a good 
husband, which is a fact worth noting, and we have 
Gronow's authority for knowing that as a companion he 



was charming, his bewitching manner making him friends 

The familiar " Teapot " had its origin so far back as his 
Eton days, when he was accustomed to brew his tea in 
an old black teapot, which he carefully cherished in his 
maturer years of dandyism and campaigning. 

Another of the set, the " Silent " Hare, was known by 
this adjectival affix, on the Ittcus a non lucendo principle, 
for it was bestowed on him because of his notorious 
loquacity a loquacity which found vent in many 
languages, and numerous stories are told which not only 
illustrate this, but also prove the extent of his knowledge 
and his surprising memory. 

One shall suffice here, and this one is interesting, 
inasmuch as it has also been attributed to the learned 
Master of Trinity, Dr Whewell, and in our own day to 
Mr Gladstone. 

On a certain occasion, while staying in a country house, 
some of his friends made bets that they would introduce 
a subject at dinner which should be too much even for his 
seemingly universal knowledge. To this end they read 
up an abstruse article in an old magazine on Chinese 
music, and, primed with the knowledge thus obtained, 
opened the discussion with the soup and kept it up gaily 
between themselves. Hare, for once really living up to 
his nickname, preserved a stolid silence. At length, when 
his tormentors had nearly exhausted the subject in all its 
bearings, he broke in and contradicted their statements 
severally and at large, and finally proved them all wrong 
in their facts and conclusions, ending up with: "I see, 
my good fellows, whence you have taken your impressions 
on the subject. You have evidently been reading an 
article I wrote some ten years ago, but since then I 
have studied the matter afresh and have conversed with 
well-informed travellers, and I have arrived at directly 



opposite conclusions to those I held when I penned the 
article." 1 

"King " Allen, otherwise Viscount Allen, an Irish peer, 
was another of the noticeable men about town of this 
period. Always well groomed and somewhat pompous- 
looking, he is said to have confined his walking exercise 
entirely to daily promenades between Crockford's and 

Allen was one of Wellington's fighting Dandies, having 
distinguished himself at Talavera, where he and his men 
were nearly exterminated. 

He appears to have been an arbiter elegantiarum, and to 
some extent a patron of the opera and the theatres, but 
his perennial want of ready money must have made his 
patronage rather theoretical than practical, and I think 
must have embittered him, for what anecdotes survive 
indicate a certain acerbity of temper, not at all consonant 
with the traditionally sunny nature of a lounger in Pall 
Mall or Bond Street. 

His reputation as a diner-out was well sustained ; and 
it is probable that he managed to scrape along, chiefly by 
the aid of these eleemosynary feasts, as Fielding would 
have termed them ; at least so thought one of his out- 
spoken female friends, who once told him that his title 
was as good as board wages to him. 

He was a great friend of Sir Robert Peel, and once when 
driving with him in the environs of Dublin his post-boy 
had the misfortune to drive over an old woman, where- 
upon an angry crowd quickly assembled, and matters 
looked ominous, when the majestic form of Allen arose 
in the carriage, and his voice was heard exclaiming : 
"Now, post-boy, go on, and don't drive over any more 

1 This Hare is not to be confounded with the friend of Selwyn, 
called " The Hare with many friends " by the Duchess of Gordon, 
who was also noted for his wit. 



old women," and the mob made way at once for one whose 
dignity and coolness could not be gainsaid. 

Ball Hughes, sometimes called The Golden Ball, was a 
very different person. He was a sort of millionaire, which 
was in those days a rarer thing than it is now, and he 
seems to have been regarded with most favourable eyes 
by many mothers ; but, on the other hand, the daughters 
could never be made to recognise how eligible a parti 
was in their midst. Not even a course of Almack's was 
sufficient to break them in ! Why Lady Jane Paget 
should have thrown him over at the very last moment ; 
why Lady Caroline Churchill should have refused him 
point blank ; why Miss Floyd, who subsequently married 
Sir Robert Peel, should have found him wanting, are 
among the mysteries, for he is described as being both 
handsome and well set up, with excellent manners, and 
with forty thousand a year 1 

As a result he married the once celebrated and much- 
run-after danseuse, Mademoiselle Mercandotti a marriage 
which was for a few days the talk of the town. He carried 
off his bride to the seclusion of Oatlands, which he had 
purchased from the Duke of York, and the following 
epigram was written by Ainsworth, on the event : 

" The fair damsel is gone ; and no wonder at all 
That, bred to the dance, she is gone to a ball. " 

Of Jack Talbot, that champion and idol of the fair sex, 
who used to say that he would sooner disoblige his father 
or his best friend than a pretty woman, I need not say 
much. He was a friend of Brummell and Alvanley, and, 
indeed, so far as can be ascertained, of anyone with whom 
he was brought in contact ; he had, however, two failings, 
and they were claret and sherry. Alvanley once said 
that if he were tapped, more of the former wine than of 
blood would have been found in his veins ; and he is 



known to have drunk the latter at breakfast, as an 
ordinary man drinks tea or coffee. 

It was hardly appropriate that he should be found dead 
in his chair, with half a bottle of sherry still left standing 
on the table beside him ! 

Another of the same gay set was Scrope Davies, who 
was such an admirer of Tom Moore's genius that he used 
to say the proper translation of the Horatian line, *' Ubi 
plura nitent, non. egopaucis offendar maculis," was " Moore 
shines so brightly that I cannot find fault with Little's 
vagaries " ; while he rendered Ne plus ultra as "Nothing 
better than Moore. " He was, indeed, particularly ready 
in repartee and quotation, and was the type of the Dandy 
plus mind. It is probable that he is best remembered 
by his reply to Brummell's appeal for money on the eve of 
the latter's departure for Calais : 

"My dear Scrope," wrote Brummell, "Lend me 500 
for a few days ; the funds are shut for the dividends, 
or I would not have made this request." Quick as 
lightning came the reply : "My Dear Brummell, all my 
money is locked up in the funds." 

The name of " Poodle " Byng is one that greets us 
continually in the pages of the social annals of this period. 
As we have seen, his familiar prefix was the hook on which 
Brummell hung one of his witty sayings ; and, indeed, it 
was asserted that the nickname had been first given him 
because he was accustomed to drive out in his "tilbury " 
with a poodle by his side. Had this been so, then 
BrummelPs remark would have lacked what little wit can 
be attached to it ; but, as a matter of fact, Byng, or rather 
the Hon. Frederick Byng, to give him his proper designa- 
tion, himself once gave its true origin. When young, he 
was noted for his thick curly head of hair, and Lady Bath 
and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, were both wont 
to call him "their poodle " on this account. 



"Kangaroo" Cooke, so called because, on once being 
asked by the Duke of York what sort of food he got in the 
Peninsula, replied that "he could get nothing to eat but 
kangaroo," and "Dan " Mackinnon, noted for his agility 
and his love of practical joking, and of whom Grimaldi 
once said that "Colonel Mackinnon has only to put on the 
motley costume and he would totally eclipse me," were 
among the lesser lights of Almack's and the clubs men 
whose names are remembered by a chance saying, some 
strange freak, or at best by a " bubble reputation " ; but 
with the great D'Orsay the case is different. His name 
stands, as that of Brummell formerly stood, for the type 
of dandy. Had Carlyle chosen to study the hero in 
another incarnation, or had Emerson wished to make his 
representative men embrace yet another class, there can 
be little doubt but that they would have each selected 
Brummell and D'Orsay as the mannequins on which to fit 
the clothes of their philosophy. 

Count D'Orsay was the last and in many respects the 
greatest of the Dandies. He dressed as well as Brummell 
and his manners were infinitely better ; he was, besides, 
a man of wit and many accomplishments a sculptor and 
a clever artist, besides being extremely handsome and of 
fine physique. "When he appeared in the perfection of 
dress," says one who knew him, "with that expression 
of self-confidence and self-complacency which the sense 
of superiority gives, he was the observed of all." His 
kindliness of disposition was, too, proverbial, and his wit 
was only equalled by his appreciation of wit in others. 

Of course it goes without saying that he was extrava- 
gant it was his role to be so ; but if, as Lord Lamington 
says, " he was sui profusus, he was never alieni appetens," 
and greater men have had worse epitaphs. 

When he appeared at Almack's he was the cynosure 
of every eye, as Brummell had been before him. But 



whereas the latter was feared and imitated, the former 
was " dressed at " and regarded with something as near 
affection as any man can be who is superior to his fellows 
in dress, in looks and in manners. 

The general consensus of contemporary opinion is 
favourable to D'Orsay, and even his connection with Lady 
Blessington seems only to have misled those who, like 
Creevey, were willing, if not anxious, to be misled into 
regarding it as nothing but a vulgar liaison. Their con- 
duct was, doubtless, injudicious in the highest degree, but 
I think it may be regarded as only injudicious. 

Count D'Orsay seems to have inherited his good looks 
from his father, one of Napoleon's officers, whom that 
critic of men once described as " aussi brave que beau " ; 
his wit from his mother, an illegitimate daughter of the 
King of Wtlrtemberg; and his artistic tastes from his 
paternal grandfather, who lost most of his treasures during 
the Revolution. 

From a child, D'Orsay was notable, both physically and 
mentally, and his attachment to the Bonapartes, inculcated 
in his youthful mind, seems, notwithstanding some causes 
for complaint during his latter years, never to have left 

After serving in the Army he came to England for the 
first time about the year 1821, accompanied by his sister, 
who had been married to the Due de Guiche, afterwards 
Due de Grammont, who himself had been educated in this 
country and whose sister had married Lord Ossulston, 
later Earl of Tankerville, which facts are interesting as 
largely accounting for the warm reception given to young 
D'Orsay himself. 

It was on this occasion that he became acquainted with 
Lord and Lady Blessington, and subsequently, at their 
earnest desire, accompanied them on a tour through 
France and Italy. 



He married, in 1827, Lady Harriet Gardiner, daughter 
of Lord Blessington by his first wife, from whom he 
was subsequently separated. This incident is the least 
defensible in his career, inasmuch as he ought never to 
have consented to marry a woman for whom he did not 
really care. 

After the separation he lived in constant intercourse 
with Lady Blessington, whom he regarded as a mother, 
according to his solemn assurance to Madden, the 
biographer of the lady. 

Indeed, D'Orsay never seems to have entirely recovered 
from the blow caused by her death, and his latter years in 
Paris, where he fought against poverty by doing some 
artistic work, were but years of sorrow and regrets. He 
died in 1852, and with him died the type of which he was 
so notable an example. 

The name of D'Orsay reminds me that some of the 
foreign residents in London who did so much towards 
the success of Almack's, deserve a word at the conclusion 
of this chapter. 

It is probable that at no time has London teemed with 
so many illustrious " aliens " as at the moment when, the 
great Napoleon having been finally beaten, Europe gave 
itself up to that sort of delight that a schoolboy may feel 
when his master has been called away and he is free to 
follow his own devices. 

Englishmen overran the Continent ; foreigners forgot 
their traditional terrors of the Channel and flocked to see 
what manner of strange being John Bull might be at 

I don't know whether Almack's was as particular 
about admitting foreigners within its precincts as it was 
in allowing any but the most eligible of Englishmen into 
its rooms. Probably; for most of those who became 
regular visitors here either bore the names of great 
R 257 


families or were attached to the numerous embassies 
which, now that Napoleon's yoke was removed, were sent 
over from the various countries that had for years been 
under his domination. 

Of such were, of course, Prince Paul Esterhazy, the 
Austrian Ambassador, and the Baron de Neumann, 
Secretary to that Embassy, and both, as we have seen, 
closely connected with Almack's and inveterate dancers 
at its assemblies. 

The Prince, one of that great Hungarian family whose 
name is illustrious in European politics and social life, 
was the son of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy, and was born 
in 1786. After serving as Austrian Minister to Dresden 
and in Westphalia he was, in 1814, promoted Ambassador 
to Rome, but in the following year was transferred to 
London, where he remained three years. Returning 
again in 1830 he continued here till 1838, when he retired 
from active political work and went to reside on his vast 
estates, where he died in 1861. His connection with 
this country was further emphasised by the fact that 
his son, Prince Nicholas, married in 1842 Lady Sarah 
Villiers, daughter of the 5th Earl of Jersey and of Lady 
Jersey, the redoubtable patroness of Almack's. 

Baron de Neumann became equally closely connected 
with us, for he married Lady Augusta Somerset, daughter 
of the 7th Duke of Beaufort, and died in 1850, not long after 
he had been appointed Austrian Ambassador at Florence. 
He seems to have been very friendly with Raikes and, 
although not, as a rule, communicative, as no diplomatist 
should be, to have imparted a certain modicum of political 
news to the diarist, who duly noted it. 

Another foreign figure at Almack's was the Comte St 
Antonio, who is shown in the sketch of the 1815 ball there 
as dancing with Princess Esterhazy. The Comte later 
became Due di Canizzaro, and appears to have been 



married to Miss Johnson, 1 an heiress. That they did not 
get on well together is evidenced by Raikes, who speaks 
of the husband only seeming anxious to avoid every 
country where his wife might happen to take up her 
residence, and more particularly by the fact that they 
were afterwards separated. The Duke survived his wife, 
dying at Como in 1841, "said," writes Raikes, "to 
have been poisoned by overdoing the homoeopathic 

Another habitu of Almack's who married an English 
girl was the Comte de Flahault, to whom Miss Mercer, 
daughter of Admiral Lord Keith and his first wife, co- 
heir of Colonel Mercer, was united. Many were the 
aspirants to Miss Mercer's hand. She favoured at one 
time, the Princess Lieven tells us, Comte Pahlen, at 
another Narischkine, and there was even talk of Byron's 
marrying her, which, according to the message he sent her 
on his leaving England, seems to have been more than 
probable. Miss Mercer was an heiress, and a beautiful 
one, and the Comte was considered a lucky man in win- 
ning her. In 1823 she succeeded to the Barony of Keith, 
and fourteen years later to that of Nairne, through her 
maternal grandfather. 

Baron Tripp and M. Bourblanc are the last of the 
foreigners associated with Almack's who require a few 
words. The former was a Dutchman and emigrated from 
Holland at the beginning of the century, according to 
Raikes, on whose diary I rely for the facts known about 
him and M. Bourblanc. 

Tripp obtained a commission in the 10th Light 
Dragoons, the Prince Regent's own regiment, and with 
this connection with a crack regiment, coupled with a 
handsome face and a pleasant manner, he was received 
by the world of fashion with open arms. He was, says 

1 Raikes spells it Johnston. 


Raikes, "an agreeable boaster, swearing like a Hussar 
and speaking a sort of baragouin, half German, half 
French-English, which was very entertaining. " 

Later, Tripp took up his residence in Brussels, where a 
duel with the father of a young lady to whom he had paid 
too marked attention excited a not very favourable im- 
pression. Subsequently he migrated to Florence, where 
he lived a good deal in the society of Lord and Lady 
Burghersh. There he fell in love with a married lady 
named Mrs Fitzherbert, and finished an ornamental, if 
not particularly useful, career by shooting himself with a 
pistol borrowed from a friend, whether from jealousy or 
unrequited passion, or really because, as he said in some 
lines he left scribbled on his writing-table, because he was 
tired of life, is a mystery. 

Bourblanc's fate was a still more tragic one and curiously 
out of keeping with his fleeting career among the most 
highly civilised society of the day, for, having been sent 
by his Government on some distant mission, the ship he 
sailed in touched at an unknown island and Bourblanc 
joined a landing-party. They had, however, hardly set 
foot on shore before they were surrounded by cannibals, 
killed and actually devoured by the savages, in the very 
sight of their vessel ! 

The unhappy victim of this awful fate had been an 
attache" to an embassy, had been a great exponent of the 
waltz and the quadrille at Almack's, and had even written 
verses in defence of the former dance, singing its innocence 
and its charms lines which, if not very good, were 
supported by irreproachable sentiments, and he had lived 
in the best society of his day. Could, then, a fate be 
more singular than that he should fall a victim to savage 
hands and be eaten by savage jaws. 



As we have seen, Almack's hey-day of fashion and splendour 
lasted from its inauguration in 1765 till about 1835. 
After that period, however, signs were not wanting that 
its decay was at hand, and, as I have noted, a writer in 
The Quarterly did not fail to observe this in 1840. 

It is not difficult to understand the reason for this 
gradual decay. In the first place, conditions of society 
were rapidly changing. With the accession of Queen 
Victoria an entirely new era was inaugurated, and the 
very fact that a female sovereign sat on the throne made 
it more difficult for powerful ladies of the aristocracy to 
sustain that leadership of fashion which did not clash with 
royal prerogative in this respect, while easy-going monarchs 
like George IV. and William IV. governed the country. 

Added to this, we must remember that the ladies who 
formed the most formidable portion of the once powerful 
tribunal of Almack's were undeniably growing old, or 
else, as in the case of the Princess Lieven and the Princess 
Esterhazy, had left this country ; and the break-up of 
this "coalition," combined with the new conditions of 
society that soon obtained, was quite sufficient to weaken 
so seriously the constitution of Almack's that it gradually 
became at first demode" and then but a memory. 

With the extinction of the balls Almack's was generally 
known as Willis's Rooms, although long before their dis- 
continuance Willis, the nephew of Almack, had managed 

During the earlier years of the Victorian era the rooms 



were used for dances, lectures and readings, and concerts. 
Indeed, so far as the last-named entertainments were 
concerned, there had been a precedent, for it is known 
that the lady patronesses from time to time permitted 
concerts and balls l to be given here for the benefit of 
fashionable professors of dancing and celebrated musicians 
and singers. Here, from 1808 to 1810, Mrs Billington 
and Braham and Signer Naldi gave a series of concerts in 
opposition to those of Madame Catalini at the Hanover 
Square Rooms. Here M. Fierville held his subscription 
balls, for which Bartolozzi engraved the beautiful little 
benefit tickets, as well as many other similar entrance 
cards for various benefit performances given at Almack's, 
which are still to be met with. 2 

In 1839 there appeared here one of those remarkable 
prodigies of which we have seen so many in our own day. 
In this case it was a Master Bassie, aged thirteen who, 
according to Thornbury, "appeared here in an extra- 
ordinary mnemonic performance." 

Five years later Charles Kemble gave his "Readings 
from Shakespeare " in the great ballroom. But the 
rooms were to resound to the voices of still more remark- 
able men, for here, in 1851, Thackeray delivered his series 
of Lectures on the English Humourists. The course 
was given on the afternoons of the 22nd and 29th of May, 

1 In July 1821 a splendid ball was given here in honour of the 
Coronation of George IV. by the Due de Grammont, Envoy Extra- 
ordinary from the French Court, when the King, the Duke of 
Wellington and various members of the Royal Family were present. 
Rush, in his Court of London, mentions this dance, and notes 
that a beautiful bouquet was presented to each lady as she entered 
the room. 

2 In the author's possession is a " Gentlemen's Ticket !l for the 
" Amicable Assembly " held here on the i6th of May 1822 ; it 
is not filled up with the name of the recipient, but bears that 
of the Secretary, J. K. Silver, who acted as Introducer in this 



the 12th, 19th and 26th of June and the 3rd of July, 
the price of admission being 2, 2s. for the set of six 
lectures, these seats being reserved, and 7s. 6d. for a single 
unreserved place. 

Seldom, perhaps, had that "great painted and gilded 
saloon, with long sofas for benches," as Charlotte Bronte 
described it, been filled, even in the hey-day of its fashion, 
with such an illustrious throng. Here were to be seen 
the authoress of Jane Eyre timidly exchanging greetings 
with Monckton Milnes and Lord Carlisle; here that 
amusing diarist, Caroline Fox, noted Carlyle, Dickens and 
the painter Leslie, besides "innumerable noteworthy 
people " ; here came the learned Hallam, the omniscient 
Macaulay, the very "blue " Harriet Martineau. 

Charlotte Bronte and Caroline Fox have both left their 
impressions of the reader and his treatment of his subject, 
and the former writes that " there is quite a furore for his 
lectures" ; "they are a sort of essay, characterised by his 
own peculiar originality and power, and delivered with 
a finished taste and ease, which is felt but cannot be 
described " ; while Miss Fox records how the lecturer 
"reads in a definite, rather dry manner, but makes you 
understand thoroughly what he is about." 

After the lecture at which Charlotte Bronte was present, 
Thackeray came towards her and asked her for her opinion 
on his performance; but before another of the series he 
seems to have been in a state of nervousness, rendering 
him incapable of thinking or acting for himself at all, 
and Fanny Kemble, in her Records of Later Life, gives an 
amusing picture of the scene. 

"I found him," she writes, "standing like a forlorn, dis- 
consolate giant in the middle of the room, gazing about 
him. * Oh, Lord ! ' he exclaimed, as he shook hands with 
me, ' I'm sick at my stomach with fright 1 ' I spoke 
some words of encouragement to him and was going away, 



but he held my hand like a scared child, crying, ' Oh, don't 
leave me!' 'But,' said I, 'Thackeray, you mustn't 
stand here. Your audience are beginning to come in,' 
and I drew him from the middle of his chairs and benches, 
which were beginning to be occupied, into the retiring 
room adjoining the lecture-room. . . . Here he began 
pacing up and down, literally wringing his hands in 
nervous distress. 'Now,' said I, 'what shall I do ? 
Shall I stay with you till you begin, or shall I go and leave 
you to collect yourself ? ' ' Oh,' he said, ' if I could only 
get at that confounded thing (the lecture) to have a last 
look at it ! ' ' Where is it ? ' said I. ' Oh I in the next 
room on the reading-desk.' When she had fetched it 
she accidentally let it fall, tumbling the leaves in inextric- 
able confusion. 'My dear soul,' said Thackeray, 'you 
couldn't have done better for me. I have just a quarter 
of an hour to wait here and it will take me about that to 
page this again, and it's the best thing in the world that 
could have happened.' " 

The other great voice that echoed in that room was 
that of Dickens, who, although he delivered none of his 
lectures here, on two occasions presided at public dinners 
in the Great Room, the first being on 14th February 1866, 
when he acted as chairman at the annual feast of the 
Dramatic, Equestrian and Musical Fund, and spoke in 
support of the institution, and also proposed one of the 
toasts ; the second being on 5th June of the following year, 
when he took the chair at the Ninth Anniversary Festival 
of the "Railway Benevolent Society," and proposed the 
toast of the evening in that felicitous manner that earned 
for him the reputation of being one of the best after-dinner 
speakers of his time. 

It is not necessary to specify all the various entertain- 
ments that have taken place in Willis's Rooms since the 
time of Almack's assemblies to that when they were 



appropriated to their present uses; such a list would be 
rather tiresome and not particularly instructive. 

To-day the Great Room has become the auction mart 
of the well-known firm of Messrs Robinson & Fisher, who 
have made such alterations in the adjoining parts of 
the building in their occupation as were required by the 
exigencies of their business, forming spacious offices 
at the top of that once so celebrated staircase, beside 
which a note of modernity is given by the presence of 
the nowadays indispensable lift. 

That there is a precedent for the use of the rooms for 
such a purpose is evidenced by the fact that on 20th July 
1837 Messrs J. G. & G. A. Sharp sold here by auction, 
"By Order of the Trustees appointed by His Majesty for 
the Collection and Distribution of the Deccan Booty," the 
famous Nassuck Diamond (weighing 357 grains and of 
the Purest Water), which had been "captured by the 
Combined Armies " I quote the catalogue lying before 
me "under the command of the late Most Noble 
General the Marquis of Hastings, G.C.B., etc., etc." 

Together with this famous stone were disposed of (by 
order of the executors of the late Mr Bridge of Ludgate 
Hill) "The Celebrated Arcot Diamonds, which were 
formerly sold by direction of the Executors of Her late 
Majesty, Queen Charlotte," as well as other valuable 
jewels, formerly in the possession of Louis XVI., Marie 
Antoinette, Joseph Bonaparte and the Sultan Selim. 

The catalogue is illustrated by copper-plates represent- 
ing the various facets of the Nassuck Diamond and also 
the Arcot Diamonds. 

The latter were the famous stones which Warren 
Hastings, on his return to England in 1785, presented 
to Queen Charlotte, and which were supposed to have 
influenced her Majesty in receiving Mrs Hastings, whose 
past had not been irreproachable. 



At Queen Charlotte's death they had been purchased 
by Mr Bridge, the famous jeweller. 

Other portions of Almack's have undergone a radical 
change ; on the west side of the entrance is now Prince's 
Restaurant a fashionable resort, and it is said favourably 
entreated of by White's Club itself ; on the east side are 
various small business premises, flanked at the end by 
the old-world house which forms the headquarters of 
the Orleans Club; so that few traces of the original 
characteristics of the once famous Almack's remain. 



CONSIDERING what an important part was played by 
Almack's in the realms of fashion, and also what an 
amount of power and influence was wielded by the lady 
patronesses who directed its fortunes, it is but natural 
that in the fiction of the day it should be continually 
mentioned, and its high priestesses made to play a part 
in the novels which appeared during the early years of 
the nineteenth century, especially when we remember 
that these novels were what are wont to be termed 
"fashionable " ones. 

Thackeray has had his laugh at this sort of literature, 
and, indeed, there is not much to be said in its defence ; 
but if one wished to enact the part of the advocatus 
diaboli, one might point out that it had its uses, and still 
has its value, in presenting a more or less correct picture 
of the manners of a period which seems as far removed 
from us as the times of the Tudors or Stuarts. 

The days when it was considered the thing to drive down 
to Richmond and dine at The Star and Garter ; to dance 
nightly at The Pantheon, The Argyle Rooms, or Almack's ; 
to pass the evening at Ranelagh or Vauxhall, are gone 
with the snows of yester-year. No longer does the gilded 
youth of the period twist off knockers, upset Charleys 
(the Charley is as dead as the megatherium !), or frequent 
The Shades or the Thieves' Kitchen, or other haunts as 
low or disreputable. 

Bohemia has enlarged its borders, and the inhabitants 
of that free-and-easy country now take their pleasures, if 



s - 

more soberly, at least in better lighted and regulated 
haunts. But in the earlier days of the last century things 
were different ; there was a certain boisterous merriment 
about the nocturnal pleasures of our forbears which neither 
the L.C.C. nor the Metropolitan Police would think of 

The novelists and recorders of manners and customs in 
the earlier days, when Almack's flourished, have, however, 
a different tale to tell, and the telling of it, if it sometimes 
fills us with some disgust, at least helps to picture to our 
minds how curious and complete a change of life has 
befallen London in the relatively short space of time which 
has since passed by. 

The sort of assemblies of which Almack's was the most 
important, the most select, the most tyrannic, have no 
equivalent to-day ; and such novels as record its customs 
and the manners of its habitues, even if they are, as is 
generally the case, otherwise worthless, possess a sort of 
value as documents pour servir for a more complete 
comprehension of its history, and form, indeed, a kind of 
antiquarian guide to its secret annals. 

The chief work of fiction bearing on our particular 
theme is itself entitled Almack's, which shows that it is 
not only largely based on this institution, but promises 
some interesting side-lights on its inner workings, from 
the point of view of a contemporary. 

Almack's was published by Saunders & Otley, of 
Conduit Street, in 1827, and that it had some success 
is proved by the fact that at least three editions were 
called for. This success is easily understood when it is 
remembered that the novel was of that order known as 
"Romans a clef," in which actual personages are adum- 
brated under the veil of fictitious names; and though 
Almack's bears on its title the excellent advice of Othello, 
to "Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice," 



this maxim was not always strictly adhered to. The 
three volumes in which the work appeared were prefaced 
by a dedication, which must be given in full. It runs 
thus : 

To that Most Distinguished and Despotic 

Composed of their High Mightinesses the 
Lady Patronesses of the Balls at 


The Rulers of Fashion, the Arbiters of Taste, the 
Leaders of Ton, and the Makers of Manners, whose 
Sovereign sway over "the world" of London has 
long been established on the firmest basis, whose 
Decrees are Laws, and from whose judgement there 
is no appeal ; 

To these important Personages, all and severally, 
who have formed, or who do form, any part of that 

usually denominated 


Whether Members of the Committee of Supply, 


Holding seats at the Board of Control, 

The following pages, 
are with all due respect, humbly dedicated by 


I am not going to inflict on a long-suffering reader 
my account of the novel ; I have read it through and fail 
to detect anything in the nature of a plot. It consists, 
indeed, simply of a number of scenes of fashionable life in 
town and country, and the main object of everybody seems 
to be how they can best advance their own interests as 
aspirants for fashionable fame. 

Homer sings of the search for the Golden Fleece ; 



Malory writes of the quest of the Holy Grail ; the novelist 
of 1827 shows us the pursuit of tickets for subscription 
dances ! 

The knights of the beginning of the nineteenth century 
did not keep holy vigils, or, sheathed in mail, rescue high- 
born damsels from the clutch of dragons or robbers : no ; 
these later embodiments of the chivalric idea entered 
into long and difficult intrigues to procure a card of ad- 
mission to Almack's, and the guerdon they received was 
a belated dance or the privilege of finding their fair one's 
carriage at what-you-like-o'clock of a rainy morning ! 

This is how one of the characters in the novel, the 
Marchioness of Glenmore, though in " a delicate situation," 
speaks of the chance of figuring in those rooms : "Oh ! 
Lady Anne, do you know I have got a promise from my 
Lord that I shall go to Almack's when I am in town ? that 
is, if I am pretty well. I told him I would lie on the sofa 
now as long as he pleased if he would promise me that ; 
and so he did, and I took care to have a written agreement 
about it. I do so long to go there." 

One can hardly credit the trouble that was taken to 
procure tickets, but as Lady Anne, in the novel, exclaims : 
"The fuss makes the pleasure," and for this reason, as 
she continues, "the uncertainty attending your success; 
getting a ticket when you know how many girls have been 
refused who have superior pretensions to any you can 
boast ; the consciousness that you owe all your interest 
to your personal merit, your good looks, your ton., your 
taste in dress, your graceful dancing, or your lively wit. 
Oh! there is nothing like Almack's." But it is not 
only the ladies who are enthusiastic about the place. 
"Almack's! " exclaims Lord Hazlemore to Lady Anne, 
"delightful word! Does not it make your heart beat 
even to hear it ? There is nothing worth living for in 
town till the lady patronesses are arrived, and dear Lady 



Hauton is busy with her committees and her tickets." 
Another character, Lord Glenmore, is not, however, of this 
way of thinking, and he utters some home- truths on the 
subject: "The system of Almack's," he says, "is alto- 
gether the most unnatural coalition that ever existed in 
any society. A set of foolish women caballing together to 
keep the rest of the world in their trammels, who have no 
kind of right to do so but what they choose to arrogate to 
themselves, is a very curious state of things certainly, but 
that they should have found hundreds of independent 
people silly enough to bend to their yoke is the most 
extraordinary part of the story." 

Lord and Lady Tresilian agree with this verdict. The 
former, asked how he would describe good society, replies : 
"In the Almack's acceptation it means the friends, ad- 
mirers and toadies of the six ladies patronesses, foreigners 
of all countries and of all grades, who speak French or 
broken English. If you do not belong to any one of these 
classes, vain are your pretensions : you can never be 
admitted to be one of tis. " To which Lady Tresilian adds 
quite a little history of the procedure of the patronesses. 

"This institution," says her ladyship, "has now 
existed ten years, and six self-elected female sovereigns 
have, during all that time, held the keys of the great world, 
as St Peter was supposed to do those of the kingdom of 
Heaven. These ladies decide, in a weekly committee, upon 
the distribution of the tickets for admission : the whole is 
a matter of favour, interest, or calculation ; for neither 
rank, distinction, nor merit of any kind will serve as a 
plea, unless the candidate has the good fortune to be 
already upon the visiting-book of one of these all-powerful 
patronesses. Not to be known to one of the six, must 
indeed argue yourself quite unknown." And she adds: 
" Almack's is a system of tyranny which would never be 
submitted to in any country but one of such complete 



freedom that people are at liberty to make fools of them- 
selves " ; while her husband ends the discussion by in- 
forming Colonel Montague, whom they are both initiating 
into the mysteries of Almack's, that a certain distinguished 
foreigner, over in this country in an official position, 
determined not to submit to these rigorous rules, but that 
he had to finally give in, and in doing so he was heard to 
exclaim : 

"Qu'est-ce que la gloire ! il n'y en a done plus! 
Quand on a vu le Conque*rant d'Austerlitz mourir a St 
Helene, et son vainqueur content de se mettre sur la liste 
des e'le'gantes d 'Almack's, on peut bien dire, 'II n'y a plus 
de gloire ! ' 

The seventh chapter of the third volume is entitled 
"Almack's Ball," and is headed by those lines in 
Luttrell's Advice to Julia, in which the poet exclaims : 

"Oh ! that I dared, since hearts of iron 
Melt at the strains of Moore and Byron, 
Borrow their thoughts and language now 
To paint our Almack's belles : for how, 
Unless their Muse my fancy warms, 
Describe such features and such forms." 

I don't think any specific details of this chapter would 
be exhilarating. Balls are much alike, and those at 
Almack's seem not greatly to have varied from those we 
have all attended. The point was the difficulty in getting 
admitted, and of that, I think, I have given sufficient 

It is evident that the author of the novel, whoever he 
may have been, was au courant with the various modes 
of procedure, both in the matter of allotting or with- 
holding tickets, the election of patronesses and the rules 
formulated by the tribunal. Of the latter he gives a copy ; 
while the notification to the Baroness de Wallenstein of 



her election to that body is obviously an authentic 
document filled in with fictitious names. It runs thus : 
"James and William Willis have received the instruc- 
tions of the Ladies Patronesses of the balls at Almack's, 
to inform the Baroness de Wallenstein that, at the Com- 
mittee held this day, an unanimous resolution was passed, 
to confer on her Excellency the office of Patroness, vacant 
by the resignation of the Dowager Countess of Lochaber." 


"J. and W. Willis have the honour to inform the 
Baroness de Wallenstein that the regular committee for 
the discharge of business will meet as usual, on Monday 
the 8th of April, when her attendance is most earnestly 
and particularly desired. The Countess of Hauton in 
the Chair." 

But if this is a substantially correct transcript of one of 
the regular notices issued under such circumstances, an 
advertisement supposed to have been sent to the papers 
by the management of Almack's, which Lady Anne reads 
to Lady Hauton and Lady Norbury, and which she says 
to those grandes dames " cuts you all up famously," is an 
amusing skit, and shows much knowledge of the various 
characters of the patronesses. I will give it in full and 
it shall be the last extract from these not altogether 
unamusing volumes : 


"A vacancy having occurred in the direction of 
Almack's, we have been solicited to give currency to the 


" Wanted for the ensuing season at Almack's, as 
Patroness, a person of undeniable character, quick parts, 
s 273 


good address, and well known in the fashionable world : 
she must possess a good memory, be complete mistress of 
the peerage, and write a free running hand, besides being 
sufficiently grounded in the rudiments of arithmetic to 
understand the extent of the numbers to be admitted on 
her books. Her manner must be decided, so that she 
be always capable of giving evasive answers or positive 
denials, according to the situation of those from whom she 
receives applications. 

"She must possess great tact, in order to be able to 
practise with precision the different degrees of the art of 
cutting ; which last qualification must be a sine qua non 
previous to any attempt to enter as candidate. 

"And whereas many extraordinary-looking persons, 
whose faces were unknown, have occasionally been suffered 
to appear at Almack's, more especially about Easter, it is 
hereby specified that none can be considered candidates 
for the office who are in any way connected with any 
singular-looking persons of either sex. 

" The above regulation will be strictly attended to, as, 
owing to the Ladies Patronesses' desire of obliging, the 
Committee might find themselves placed in disagreeable cir- 
cumstances. No very good-natured person need apply, as 
it takes much time to get rid of that objectionable quality. 

"N.B. The situation is particularly adapted for 
widows. The inconvenience of disobliging persons of 
respectability who come from the country (and who of 
necessity are among the proscrits) having led to serious 
consequences in county elections. 

"Apply to any of the Ladies Patronesses for further 

Some time after the appearance of the novel a key to it 
was issued, said to have been compiled by no less a person 
than Benjamin Disraeli. Some of the names are not 



difficult to guess without its aid, Lady Hauton being 
Lady Jersey, and the Baroness de Wallenstein thinly veil- 
ing the Princess Lieven ; by its help, however, the whole 
dramatis personce stand forth as well-known personages. 

The name of Disraeli reminds me that in some of his 
earlier novels Almack's figures. Particularly does one 
recall the debut of that wonderful young duke here, where 
"he galloped with grace and waltzed with vigour," and 
"his dancing was declared consummate." But when the 
author takes us to Castle Dacre he warns us that the party 
assembled there were not fashionable people, and tells us 
that "we shall sadly want a lady patroness to issue a 
decree or quote her code of consolidated etiquette." "I 
am not sure," he adds, "that Almack's will ever be men- 
tioned " ; but at the same time we must remember that 
the name of Lady Almack is introduced in Vivian Grey 
as indicating a noble dame of ultra-fashionable proclivities. 

In those now long-forgotten three-volume novels of 
the twenties, thirties and forties of the last century the 
works of Mrs Moberley and John Mills and a host of other 
now well-nigh unknown writers of fiction books which 
are sometimes found in second-hand stalls or are occasion- 
ally met with among the unregretted rubbish of seaside 
circulating libraries Almack's name occurs again and 
again, and many of these volumes are filled with the 
fashionable flummery of which Almack's was the special 

It is not surprising that in the novels of Dickens 
Almack's receives no mention. Thackeray, on the other 
hand, although I don't remember any allusion to it in his 
greater books, posed as a man of fashion and knew the 
rooms probably at first hand ; in any case the egregious 
" Jeames de la Pluche, Exquire," is to be found alluding 
to himself as "worling round in walce at Halmax with 
Lady Harm, or lazaly stepping a kidrill with Lady Jane." 



So, too, in Tom and Jerry we find that wonderful pair, 
with Corinthian Tom, making a glorious trio, now in Tom 
Cribb's parlour, now at the opera, the play, and, bliss of 
bliss, at Almack's itself, "amidst a crowd of high-bred 
personages, with the Duke of Clarence himself looking at 
them dancing." 1 

The pencil of Cruikshank has immortalised the doings 
of these heroes and shows us the gilded hall of the great 
Temple of Fashion itself. 

I have always thought it rather strange that in 
D'Horsay, or The Follies of the Day, where high life, and 
sometimes very low life indeed, is described with some 
minuteness, and the career of the great D'Orsay himself 
forms the staple of the argument, as it were, no mention is 
made of Almack's. Was it that Mills, its author, feared 
to desecrate the sacred place by too rough handling ? 
Had he received a hint that such a reference would be 
resented ? Is the absence of the name due to respect, 
inadequacy or caution ? 

Although the references to Almack's in the fiction of the 
day are general rather than particular and, except in the 
novel from which I have quoted at some length, hardly 
repay the time necessary for a careful investigation, there 
is one little book published in the twenties in which the 
name occurs again and again. I allude to the Advice to 
Julia, the work of that witty man about town, Henry 

The poem is one of those of which the name is, I 
suspect, better known than the lines themselves, but it 
is well worth reading, because, in always easy, sometimes 
graceful and frequently witty verse, the author gives us a 
clearly defined picture of the period, so far as that period 
is represented by the fashionable life of the West End. 
Indeed, the poem may be described as a generalising 

1 See Thackeray's Roundabout Paper entitled " De Juventute." 



journal in verse, and considering the extravagant vagaries 
of fashion at the period in which it was penned, it is agree- 
ably free from spite or bitterness, although the author is 
ever ready to hit off in easy persiflage the passing follies 
of the hour. 

I have already quoted some lines from the work in an 
earlier chapter ; let me give a few more extracts : 

"There " (at Almack's), writes Luttrell, 

"There, baffled Cupid points his darts 
With surer aim, at jaded hearts ; 
And Hymen, lurking in the porch, 
But half conceals his lighted torch. 
Hence the petitions and addresses 
So humble to the Patronesses ; 
The messages and notes, by dozens, 
From their Welch aunts and twentieth cousins, 
Who hope to get their daughters in 
By proving they axe founders' kin." 

Indeed, to such an extent did this sort of thing go that 
in a note to the poem it is actually asserted that an applica- 
tion made to the patronesses on behalf of a young lady, 
contained her portrait ! which astounding fact is referred 
to in the following lines : 

"Hence the smart miniatures enclosed 
Of unknown candidates proposed ; 
Hence is the fair divan at Willis's 
Beset with Corydons and Phillises, 
Trying, with perseverance steady, 
First one, and then another lady, 
Who oft, 'tis rumoured, don't agree, 
But clash like law and equity ; 
Some for the Rules in all their vigour, 
Others to mitigate their rigour." 

Well may the author ask : 

"How shall the Muse, with colours faint 
And pencil blunt, aspire to paint 
Such high-raised hopes, such chilling fears ? " 


"The bold becomes an abject croucher, 
And the grave giggle for a voucher "; 

and can see 

" all bow down maids, widows, wives 
As sentenced culprits beg their lives, 
As lovers court their fair one's graces, 
As politicians sue for places." 

The introduction of the quadrille presented unexpected 
difficulties to the novices of that now too familiar dance, 
and an expedient was found for those who were unable to 
stamp the various figures on their memory ; in fact, this 
was no less than a card of directions, and the curious 
spectacle was thus presented of a dancer who, to continue 
in Luttrell's words, 

"Holds, lest the figure should be hard, 
Close to his nose a printed card, 
Which, for their special use invented, 
To Beaus, on entrance, is presented ; 
A strange device, but all allow 
'Tis useful as it tells them how 
To foot it in the proper places 
Much better than their partner's faces." 

There is much more in the same strain, but an end must 
be made of quotations. Let me finish them with a few 
lines, in which the apotheosis of splendour is reached, and, 
notwithstanding the heart-burnings outside the magic 
portals, all within is light and laughter : 

"O ! Julia, could you now but creep 
Incog, into the room and peep, 
Well might you triumph in the view 
Of all he has resign 'd to you ! 



Mark, how the married and the single 
In yon gay groups delighted mingle ! 
Midst diamonds blazing, tapers beaming, 
Midst Georges, stars and crosses gleaming, 
We gaze on beauty, catch the sound 
Of music, and of mirth around ; 
And Discord feels her empire ended 
At Almack's or at least suspended." 



ABBOT, John, 44 

Adam, 42 

Adam, Robert, 143 

Adams, 154 

Addington, 136 

Addison, Joseph, 101, 133, 138, 158, 

171, 178 

Advice to Julia, 272, 276-279 
Affleck, Sir Gilbert, 117 
Agas's Plan, 13 
Ainsworth, 253 
Akenside, Mark, 77 
Albemarle Buildings, 30 
Albion Club, 52 
Alexander, Sir George, 60 
Allen, Viscount, 246, 252 
Almack's (novel), 268 
Alvanley, Lord, 136, 177, 245-249 
Andover, Lord, 16 
Angelo's School of Arms, 44 
Anglesey, Lord, 215 
Anne, Princess, 76 
" Anti- Procrustes," 37 
Apsley, Sir Allan, 20 
Architects' Club, 161 
Archives, Institute of, 160 
Arcot diamonds, 265 
Argyle Rooms, 267 
Argyll, Duke of, 245, 249 
Arlington, Earl of, 32, 78-79 
Arlington Street, 32, 34, 75-90 
Armistead, Lord, 119 
Arran, Lord, 72 
Arthur, John, 123 
Arthur, Robert, 125, 128 
Arthur's, 49, 53, 121, 156-157 
Astley, Sir John, 62 
Aston, Hervey, 245 
Aston, Lord, 16 
" Athenaeum," 44 
Atterbury, 28 
Auchinleck, 60 
Aylesford, Lord, 84 

BABMAY'S Mews, 40 

Bacon (croupier), 166 

Bacon, Francis, 14 

Baden, Princess Marie of, 86 

Baker, Sir George, 74-75, 91 

Baldwin, 16 

Banderet, 152 

Banks, Sir John, 72-73 

Banting, William, 44 

Barbauld, Mrs, 112 

Barberini vase, 61 

Barclay, 48 

Barrow, Luke, 96, 99-100 

Barry, Sir Charles, 1 19 

Barrymore, Lady, 73 

Bartolozzi, 262 

Basevi, 162 

Bassett, Lady, 20 

Bassie, Master, 262 

Bath, Earl of, 15, 82, 136 

Bathurst, Benjamin, 155 

Baux, 44 

Bayfield, Miss, 79 

Beauclerk, Hon. Mrs, 105 

Beau clerk, Topham, 154 

Beaufort, Duchess of, 203, 205 

Beaufort, Duke of, 86, 94, 127, 146, 


Beazley, Samuel, 59 
Beck, Gabriel, 26 
Beckford, Peter, 178 
Bedford, Duchess of, 145, 203 
Beever, Chiron, 144 
Behr, Baron, 117 
Bellamy, Mrs, 67 
Bellasis, Lady, 22 
Bennet Street, 20, 32, 34, 78-79 
Bennett, John, 55 
Bentinck, Lord Henry, 52 
Berkeley, Bishop, 74 
Berkeley, John Syme, 205 
Berkeley, Lady, 63 
Berkeley, Lord, 129 



Berkshire, Earl of, 16, 118, 177 
Berkshire House, 30, 32, 38, 


Bernard, Dr, 173 
Berry, 63 
Berry, C., 39 
Berwick, Lord, 116 
Bessborough, Lord, 155 
Betty (Mrs Neale), 50, 184-186 
Bidney, Miss, 52 
Bidwell, 153 
Billington, Mrs, 262 
Bingley, Sir John, 16 
Bird, William, 172 
Bland & Foster, 51 
Blandford, Marquis of, 182 
Blane, Sir Gilbert, 120 
Blessington, Lady, 256-257 
Blood, 179, 188-189 
Blount, Theresa, 60 
Blue Ball Yard, 24, 51, 95 
Blue Boar Yard, 95 
" Blue Peter," 53 
Bonaparte, Joseph, 86 
Bond, G., 57 
Bond's Club, 50 
Boodle's Club, 44, 461 121, 


Boothby, 203 
Borlase, Lady, 21 
Boscawen, Hon. Anne, 105 
Boscawen, Mrs, 106, 202-203 
Boss, 52 
Boswell, J., 60 
Botetourt, Baron, 205 
Bothmer, Baron, 82 
Boufflers, Mme de, 76 
Bourblanc, 214, 259-260 
Bourke, Hon. Algernon, 132 
Bracken, Mrs Susanna, 116 
Bradshaw, 245, 249 
Braham, 59, 262 
Bramston, 134 
Brett, Captain, 101 
Brettingham, 136 
Bridge, 265-266 
Bridgewater, Duke of, 1 19 
Bridgewater, Earl of, 116 
Bridgewater House, 1 19 
Briggs, Messrs, 44 
British Hotel, 76 
Brocklesby, Dr, 142 
Bronte, Charlotte, 263 
Brook, Lord, 81 

Brooks's Club, 49, 50, 53, 121, 146- 
118- 156 

Brougham, 155 

Brpuncker, Lord, 21, 90, 178 

Brown, Ulysses, 81 

Brown & Willes, 38 

Brumley, 43 

Brummell, G. B., 63, 136, 155, 178, 

192, 239-245 
Brunswick Hotel, 76 
Bryant, 44 

Buckingham, Duchess of, 80 
Buckinghamshire, Lady, 129 
Budgell, Eustace, 101 
Buede, General de, 105 
Bunbury, Sir Charles, 201 
" Bunch of Grapes," 23 
Bunn, Alfred, 59 
Burdett, Francis, 109 
Burdock, Samuel, 172 
Burghersh, Lord, 227, 260 
Burke, Edmund, 67, 156, 173, 178 
Burke, Richard, 173 
Burke, Sir John, 216 
Burlard, Lady, 20 
Burlington, Earl of, 35, 91 
143- Burney, Fanny, 106, 107, 112 

Burrell, Mrs Drummond, 211, 233- 


Burrell, Peter Robert, 233 
Bury Street, 63-66 
Bute, Earl of, 75, 117, 140 
Bute, Lady, 106 
Butler, Lady Harriet, 212-215 
Button's, 173 
Byng, Hon. Frederick, 155, 243, 

246, 254 

Byron, 4th Lord, 200 
Byron, George, Lord, 40, 78-79, m- 

ii2, 142-143, 178, 184, 191, 212, 


CALDECOTE, Charles, 28 

Camden, Marquis, 86 

Campbell, Lord, 156 

Campbell, Thomas, 47, 68, 112, 181 

Canizzaro, Due di, 232, 244-245 

Carberry, Earl of, 91 

Cardigan, Lord, 62 

Carey, 101 

Carlisle House, 196 

Carlisle, Countess of, 177, 200 



Carlisle, Earl of, 103-105, 118, 135, 


Carlyle, Thomas, 222, 263 
Carpenter, Lady Almeria, 200-201 
Carter, Mrs Elizabeth, 106 
Carteret, Lord, 74 
Cartwright, Madame, 28 
Gary, 52 

Castlehayen, Earl of, 22 
Castlemaine, Lady, 119, 179 
Castlereagh, Lord, 120, 136 
Castlereagh, Lady, 211 
Catalini, Madame, 262 
Catch Club, 160 
Caterer, 43 
Catherine Street, 34 
Catherine Wheel Lane, 114-115 
Catherine Wheel Yard, 24, 52 
Catholic Union of Great Britain, 68 
Cavendish Hotel, 76 
Chantrey, in 
Chapone, Mrs, 106-107 
Charles Street, 71 
Chatham, ist Earl of, 77, 190 
Chatham, 2nd Earl of, 89 
Chaworth, 200 
Chess Club, 48 

Chesterfield, Earl of, 77, 129, 136 
Cheylesmore, Lord, 132 
Child, 227 

Cho'.mondeley, Lord, 81 
Christie's, 58-59 
Chudleigh, Elizabeth, 178 
Churchill, Admiral, 102 
Churchill, Lady Caroline, 253 
Cibber, Colley, 134, 136 
Civil Service Club, 162 
Clare, Sir Ralph, 16 
Clarendon, Lord, 82, 118, 179 
Clarke, Dr George, 72 
Clarke, James, 189 
Cleland, William, 102 
Clement, 24 

Cleveland Court, 114, 117 
Cleveland, Duchess of, 30, 80-8 1 

91, 158, 178 

Cleveland, Duke of, 59, 119 
Cleveland House, 35, 118-119 
Cleveland Row, 19, 116-120 
Cleveland Square, 119-120 
Clifford, Lord, 90 
Clinton, Lord, 188 
dive, Lord, 136 
Clive, Mrs, 84 
Clutterbrooke, 20 

" Cock," Tavern 23 

" Cocoa Tree," 49 

Cocoa Tree Club, 51, 121, 138-143 

Codrington, Sir William, 82 

Coke, John, 96 

Coke, Thomas, 95-101, 178 

Cole, Michael, 172 

Collaredo, Madame, 225 

Collaton, Sir Peter, 20-21 

Combe, Alderman, 155, 244 

Comyns, Mrs, 180 

Conest's Hotel, 75 

Congreve, 136 

Conservative Club, 49, 52, 121, 162- 


Conway, Colonel, 180 
Conyngham, Lord, 248 
Cooke, G. F., 66 
Cooke, " Kangaroo," 246, 255 
Cooper, Hon. Mrs, 75 
Cope, Sir John, 104 
Corbett, Sir John, 15, 17 
Cornelys, Madame, 195-196, 198, 


Cornwallis, Lord, 178 
Cotton, Charles, 77 
Coventry, 136 

Coventry, Lady Barbara, 250 
Cowley, Abraham, 39 
Cowley, Lady, 85 
Cowper, Lady, 228-229 
Cox's Hotel, 76 
Crabbe, George, 66 
Crabtree Fields, 35 
Craggs, Secretary, 73, 102 
Crampern, 75 
Craven, Berkeley, 247 
Crawfurd, " Teapot," 246, 250-251 
Crawle, 152 
Creevey, 85 
Crellin, 42 
Crewe, 197, 237 
Crewe, Lord, 156 
Crewe, Mrs, 112 

, Crockford's, 41, 49, 53, 164-168 
Crofts, Sir W., 16 
Cromwell, O., 14, 68 
Crown Court, 33 
Crown and Sceptre Court, 20 
Cruikshank, George, 40, 276 
Cruikshank, R., 151 
Crunden, John, 46, 143 
Cullen, Elizabeth, 236 
Cumberland, Duke of, 138, 200-201, 




Cumberland, R., 173 
Cunningham, Sir David, 16 


DAHL, 77 

Dallas, 41 

Darner, G. Dawson, 245 

Danby, Earl of, 16 

Dance, 161 

Dangar, Thomas, 70 

Danvers, Lady, 20 

Darking, 166 

Dartmouth, Lord, 81-82 

D'Aurevilly, Barbey, 239 

Davenant, 101 

Davies, Scrope, 246, 254 

De Berenger, 109 

Defoe, Daniel, 76 

Deighton, 52 

Dejany, Mrs, 61, 77, 84, 105, 114- 

115, 206 

Denmark, King of, 118 
De Eresby, Lord Willoughby, 233 
Devonshire Club, 49, 121, 164 
Devonshire, Duchess of, 201 
Devonshire, Duke of, 155, 215 
Dewes, Mrs, 105 
Dickens, Charles, 263-264 
Dilettanti, Society of, 160 
Dingley, Mrs, 61 
Disraeli, Benjamin, 137, 274-275 
Disraeli, Isaac, 109, 174, 192 
Dodd, 44 

Dodington, Bubb, 136 
Dodsley, Robert, 77 
" Dog and Duck," 24 
" Dolphin and Crown," 24 
Donegall, Lord, 215 
Dorchester, Marquis of, 81 
D'Orsay, Count, 137, 215, 255- 


Dorset, Duke of, 83 
Doublet, Sieur, 205 
Dowglass, Sir Archibald, 16 
Dryden, John, 72, 80 
Dudley, Lord, 87 
Dudley, Sir Matthew, 172 
Duke Street, 66-69 
Duncombe, Sir J., 20, 27, 178 
Dundonald, Earl of, 109 
Dunning, 142 
D'Urfey, T., 77 
Dyer, C., 52 

EALY, Thomas, 55 

Eaton, 132 

Eccentric Club, 70 

Egerton Club, 162 

Eglinton Tournament, 62 

Eley, 47 

Eliott, Thomas, 19 

Ellesmere, Earl of, 119 

Ellice, Edward, 83 

Elliot, 170 

Ellis's Hotel, 49 

Elmsley, 162, 183 

Emilie, Countess, 76 

English, C. G., 53 

English's Hotel, 53 

Esmond, Harry, 143 

Esterhazy, Prince, 258 ; Prince N., 

Esterhazy, Princess, 211, 213, 215, 

232, 233 

Eugene, Prince, 159 
Evans, I. & R, 46 
Evelyn, John, 18, 40, 90-118, 179 

Farmers' Society, 160 
Farquhar, 133 
Farrington, Colonel, 95 
Fenton's Hotel, 49, 51, 53 
Fenton, John, 116 
Fenwick, Sir John, 20, 22, 28, 178 
Fierville, 262 
Fisher, 52 
Fitzgerald, 155 
Fitzherbert, Mrs, 260 
Fitzpatrick, Colonel, 91 
Fitzpatrick, General, 88, 154 
Fitzroy, Lady C., 180 
Fitzroy, Mrs, 206 
Fitzwilliam, Lady Betty, 105 
Flahault, 215, 259 
Flaxman, 111-112 
Flitcroft, 102 
Flood, Henry, 117 
Floyd, Miss, 253 
Foley, Lord, 245, 249 
Foreign Office, 117 
Forde, Captain, 29, 170 
Fountaine, Sir Andrew, 124 
Four-in-Hand Club, 86 


Fox, Caroline, 263 

Fox, Charles James, 88-89, 94. 
129-130, 136, 145-148. i54 
178, 181-182, 191, 237 

Fox Club, 153-154 

Fox Court, 20, 69-71 

Fox, George Lane, 146 

Francatelli, 165 

Francis, Sir P., 67, 155 

Frankland, William, 172 

Fraser, Sir W., 224-225 

Freere, 236 

Frisby, 74 

GAGE, Lieut.-General, 92 

Gage, Lord, 84-86 

Gandon, 161 

Garcia, 44 

Gardiner, Lady Harriet, 257 

Garrick, David, 156, 173 

Garth, Sir Richard, 139 

Gaunt's coffee-house, 125, 170, 175 

Gay, John, 116, 133, 170, 173 

Gaynor, 145-146 

Geary, Miss, 50 

Geographical Society, 160 

Geological Society, 160 

Geology, Museum of Practical, 76 

George III., 85, 137, 148 

George IV., 136, 154, 191, 234, 241 

Gibbon, Edward, 77, 140, 144-146, 

156-162, 178, 183-184 
Gibbons, Grinling, 76 
Gibbons's Tennis Court, 20 
Gibson, Colonel, 92 
Giddy, Osman, 42 
Gildon, Charles, 159 
Gillray, 45, 77. 130, 145, 178, 184 
Girle, Leonard, 35 
Gladston, J., 16 
Gladstone, W. .,75, 148; 164 
Gloucester Court, 20, 57 
Gloucester, Duchess of, 201 
Gloucester, Duke of, 58 
Glover, " Leonidas," 78 
"Goal," 24 

Godolphin, Earl of, 95, 97 
Godolphin House, 95 
" Golden Ball," 116 
" Golden Globe," 74 
Goldsmith, Oliver, 173-174 
Gordon, 72 
Gordon, Duchess of, 200, 201 

Gordon, Lord George, 120 
Gordon Riots, 106 
Gorringe, Lord, 16 
Goudge, Edward, 96-99, 101 
Gow, Neil, 212 

Graf ton, Duke of, 83, 147, 178 
Grafton, Duchess of, 203-204 
Graham's club-house, 52 
Graham's Hotel, 49 
Grammont, Due de, 256' 
Granville, Earl, 83-84, 148 
Graves, Lord, 215-216 
Gray, Lady Mary, 91 
Gray, Thomas, 74 
Great Jennyn Street, 33, 71 
" Grecian," 138 
Greenvill, 73 
Gregory, E. J., 54 
Grendison, Lady, 73 
Grenier's Hotel, 76 
Grenville, Thomas, 120 
Greville, Charles, 225-226 
Griffin, 151-153 
Gronow, 208-209 
Guards' Club, 49, 168 
Guildford, Lord, 81 
Gun Tavern, 75 
Gunning, General J., 182 
Gunning, Mrs, 182 
Gunning, Sir Robert, 105 
Gurney, J., 50 
Gwydyr, Lord, 234 



Halifax House, 58 

Halifax (George Savile, Earl of), 58 

Halifax, Marchioness of , 91 

Hall, Captain Basil, 109 

Hallagan, Matthew, 56 

Hallam, Henry, 263 

Halpin, 52 

Halse, 152 

Hamilton, Duke of, 86 

Hamilton, Governor, 75 

Hamilton, Lady, 87-88 

Hamilton, Sir William, 61 

Hamilton, W. Gerard, 22, 84 

Hance, 42 

Harding, Nicholas, 97 

Hare, Tames, 178, 181 

Hare, Sir John, 60 

Hare, the " Silent," 245, 251 



Harlowe, 77 

Harper's, 50 

Harris, Mrs, 144 

Harrison, 52 

Harvey, 141 

Haslewood, 87 

Hastings, Warren, 108, 265 

Hatch, Jane, 52 

Hawkins, Miss, 70 

Hayman, Francis, 39, 77 

Haymarket, 14 

Haynes, 52 

Hayward, Abraham, 192 

Redder, George, 153 

Heidegger, 136, 195 

Heinel, Mile, 151 

Henderson, Sir Alexander, 85 

Heneage, Madame, 95 

Henn, Mr, 16 

Herries & Co., 43 

Hertford, Marchioness of , 118, 203 

Hervey, Augustus, 178 

Hervey, Colonel, 105 

Hervey, Lady, 102-103 

Hervey, Lady A., 104, 109 

Hervey, Lord, 87 

Higgins, Madame, 73 

Hill, Sir John, 42 

Hillingdon, Dowager Lady, 94 

Hobhouse, J. Cam, 45 

Hoby, 49, 168 

Hogarth, William, 54, 93, 124-125 

Hogg, E., 47 

Holderness, Lady, 203, 205 

Holland, Henry, 49, 150 

Holland, Lord, 129, 161, 185 

Hollar, 31 

Hook, Theodore, 117, 192 

Hooke, Mr John, 17 

Hophman, 91 

Hopper, ^156 

Home, 77 

Horseshoe Alehouse, 24 

Horton, Mrs, 201 

How, Sir James, 22 

Howard, Colonel Thomas, 20 

Howard, Lord, 17 

Huddlestone, Tristram, 28 

Hughes, " Ball," 246, 253 

Hughson, Lord, 19 

Hume, David, 92, 156 

Hummel & Co., 44 

Humphrey, Miss, 45 

Humphrey, Ozias, 49 

Hunt, 16 


Hunter, Dr, 74 
Huntingdon, Earl of, 105 
Hurst, John, 55 
Hutchinson, Governor T., 22 

ILCHESTER, Lord, 151 
Imhoff, 1 08 

Imperial Fire and Life Office, 42 
Inchiquin, Earl of, 95 
Irvine, Sir John, 75 

JACOBITES, 28, 138 

Jenyns, Soame, 66, 106 

Jermyn Street, 20, 71-77 

Jerrold, William, 69 

Jersey, Lady, 85, 211-212, 217-219, 


Jervas, Charles, 117 
Johnson Club, 48, 160 
Johnson, General, 109 
Johnson, Mrs, 243 
Johnson, R., 51 
Johnson, Samuel, 51, 60, 67, 76, 

173, 184, 191 
Jollyfe, John, 52 
Jones, Charles, 44 
Jones, Inigo, 26 
Jones, Owen, 86 
Jones, William, 46 
Junior Army and Navy Club, 57 
Junior St James's Club, 168 


KELSEY, Francis, 40 
Kemble, Charles, 262 
Kemble, Fanny, 263-264 
Kempton Park Club, 48 
Kendall, William, 43 
Kendals, the, 60 
Kennett, White, 102 
Kenney, 59 
Kensington, Lord; 75 
Kent, 84 

Keppel, Major, 66 
Kidney, 172 

King Street, 20, 58-62, 71 
" King's Head," 23, 48 


Kingston, Lord, 81, 178 
Kip's Plan, 22, 33 
Kirkcudbright, Lord, 56 
Kit-Kat Club, 160 
Knapton, 160 
Knight, Francis, 46 
Kynollis, 17 

LAMINGTON. Lord, 220, 225 
Lane, Mr Champion, 17 
Lansdowne, Lord, 69 
Latella, Q., 86 
Lauriere; J., 50 

Lawrence, Sir Thomas, 75, 160 
Lennox, Lady Sarah, 201 
Lennox, Lord W. Pitt, 215 
Leopold I. (of Belgium), 215 
Lepel, Molly, 103, 178 
Leper Hosp'ital, 13 
Lewis, 43 

Lieven, Count, 230 
Lieven, Princess, 211, 213, 229- 
Ligonier, 178 
Limerick, Earl of, 70 
Lincoln, Earl of, 16 
Lingsing, Baron de, 174 
Linnean Society, 161 
Literary Club, 161, 170 
Literary Society, 161 
Little Jermyn Street, 33, 71 
Little King Street, 30 
Little Rider Street, 24, 69 
Little St James's Street, 21 ; 52 
Lloyd, Miss, 206 
Lloyd, Rufus, 245 
Lloyd's coffee-room, 145 
Lock, James, 40 
Lock, Messrs, 187 
Locker, E. H., 75 
Lockyer, 133 
London, Bishop of, 202 
London, Madame, 19 
London Chronicle, 36 
Londonderry, Lady, 227-228 
Londonderry, Lord, 215 
Long Street, the, 18-19 
Lorne, Marquis of, 182 
Lowther, Lord, 117 
Lubbock, Sir John, 109-110 
Lucan, Lord, 104 
Lumley, Lady, 17 
Lumsden, Archibald, 25-26 
Luttrell, Narcissus, 90 

Luttrell, Henry, 136, 222, 276-279 
Lyttelton, Lord, 114 
Lytton, 137 


MACALL, W., 148-149, 196, 235-236 
Macaulay, 111-112, 263 
M'Clary, H. J., 44 
Macdonald, Clanronald, 212 
Macdonald, Miss, 220 
M'Dowell, 47 

Mackinnon, Dan, 245 ; Colonel, 255 
Mackreth, Robert, 128, 131 
Maclean, 42, 172, 180, 184 
Macraith, R., 143 
M'Turk, Wm., 45 
Mahon, Lord, 190 
Malcolm's A necdotes, 36 
Maiden, Lord, 109 
Mallet, David, 89 
March, Lord, 145, 203, 205, 238 
Marlborough Club, 131 
233 Marlborough, Duchess of, 203 
Marlborough, Duke of, 72, 203 
Marryat, Captain, 68, 109 
Martin, 52 
Martindale, Henry, 129 ; John, 


Martineau, Harriet, 263 
Marylebone Lane, 34 
Mason, Lieut.-Colonel, 17 
Mason, William, 74, 116, 185 
Matthias, James, 40 
114 May, Baptist, 39 

Melbourne, Lord, 136 

Melville, Lord, 87 

Mennis, 116 

Mercandotti, Mile, 253 

Mercer, Miss, 259 

Meredith, George, 45, 192 

M6rim6e, Prosper, 89 

Metreof , Prince, 190 

Meynell, Mrs, 206 

Middlegast, Mrs, 24 

Middleton, R., 16 

Middleton, W., 44 

Military, Naval and County Service 

Club, 167 
Miller, Sir T., 152 
Mills, John, 245, 249 
Milnes, Monckton, 263 
Mimpress, 52 
Moira, Earl of, 104, 109 
Mole worth, Viscount, 95 



Molyneux, Lady, 203, 206 

Moneys, 52 

Monmouth, Lord, 81 

Montagu, Edward, 212, 245 ; 

George, 83 ; Lady M. Wortley, 

173 ; Mrs, 106 

Montgomery, Miss, 212 ; Mrs, 212 
Moore, 47 
Moore, Charles, 52 
Moore, Thomas, 65, 68, 69, 75, m- 

112, 219-220 
Mordaunt, Brig., 138 
Mordaunt, General, 109 
Morden & Lea's Plan, 32 
More, Hannah, 106 
Morris's, 171 
Mortimer, T. J., 46 
Motley, John L., 89 
Mumford, Erasmus, 127 
Musgrave, P., 22 ; Sir W., 92 
Mylne, Robert, 197 

Northumberland, Countess of, 72, 

127, 178, 180 

Nottingham, Earl of, 30, 95, 119 
Nugee, 43 


O'BlRNE, 141 

O'Connell, Daniel, 66, 156, 248 

Old English Manor House, 61 

" OldQ," 77, 127, 136, 177-178, 205 

Oldmixon, 134 

Oranmore, Sir C., 22 

Orkney, Earl of, 91 

Orleans Club, 62 

Ormond, Duke of, 159, 178-179, 


Orrery, Lady, 91 
Ossory, Earl of Upper, 152, 204 
Ozinda's chocolate-house, 29, 138, 



" NAG'S HEAD," 28 

Naldi, 262 

Napier, George, 201 

Napoleon, Second funeral of, 57 

Napoleon III., 58, 61-62, 137 

Narischkine, 259 

Nassuck diamond, 265 

Navy Club, 161 

Neale, Mrs Elizabeth ("Betty"), 


Needham, Mother, 93 
Neeld, 247 
Neild, James, 39 
Nelson, Lord, 50, 60, 87, 178 
Nerot's Hotel, 60 
Neumann, Baron de, 213-214, 232, 

245- 258 

New University Club, 49, 121, 163 
Newcastle, Duchess of, 128 
Newton, Sir Isaac, 73 
Nicholls & Housley, 43 
Nickson and Welch, 23 
Norden, 31 

Norfolk, Duke of, 142 
Noris, Robert, 38 
Norman, 70-71 
North, Col. J. S., 87 
North, Lord, 106, 113-114; Roger, 

80 ; Sir Dudley, 80 
Northington, Earl of, 105 

PACK, Richardson, 75 

Page, 52, 1 66 

Paget, Lady Jane, 253 

Pahlen, Comte, 259 

Palmer, Madame, 19 ; Roger, 19 

Palmerston, Lady, 211, 228-229 ; 

Lord, 136, 213 

" Pandemonium, The New," 165 
Pantheon, 206-207, 267 
Papworth, J. B., 46, 144 ; Wyatt, 57 
Paris, Dr, 92 
Park Place, 20, 35, 90-94 
Parnell, Thomas, 102 
Parsloe, James, 56 ; Jane, 48 
Parsloe's, 161, 169-170 
Pavement, the, 18 
Payn, R., 50 
Payne, Jack, 169 
Peel, Sir Robert, 163, 252 
Pelham, 83, 87 ; Miss, 206 
Pembroke, Lady, 203, 206 
Pendarves, Mrs, 84 
Pendennis, Major, 66 
Fender, Sir John, 85 
Pennethorne, Sir J., 57 
Pepys, 90-91, 1 1 8, 179 
Perceval, 131-132 
Peter, Colonel, 105 
Peterborough, Earl of, 81, 106, 109 
Peters, 41 
Petersham, Lord, 177 



Peyrault's Bagnio, 51 

Peyton, Sir Thomas, 16 

Philip & Whicker, 51 

Philips, 101 

Phillimore, Sir R. G., 82 

Phillipps, Sir R., 113-114 

Philosopher's Club, 161 

Phipps. C. J., 164 

Pizza, Colonel, 91 

Pickering Court, 33, 56 

Pickering, Lady, 17, 179 

Pickering Place, 17, 20, 39, 187 

Pickering, William, 39, 56 

Pierrepoint, H., 245, 249 

" Pigadillo," 18 

Pi got, Admiral, 92 

Pike. 43 

Pike, Lady, 20 

Pilkington, Mrs Letitia, 42 

Pilkington, Rev. Matthew, 42 

Pioneer Club, 94 

Pitcairn, David, 238 

Pitt, George, 95 

Pitt, John, 82 

Pitt, William, 75, 92, 129-130, 136, 

178, 190 
" Plough," 34 
Plunket, 1 80 
Plunkett, Major, 183 
" Poet's Head," 24, 38 
Political Economy Club, 161 
Pomfret, Lady, 84 
Poniatowska, Princess, 103 
Pope, Alexander, 73, 93, 117, 134, 

173. 184 

Porter's Plan, 32 
Portland, Dowager Duchess, 74 ; 

Duchess of, 106, 107-108; Duke 

of, 147, 197, 237 
Portugal Street, 35, 81 
Poulett, Lord Wm., 91 
Poulteney, Michael, 15, 17; Mrs 

Anne, 15-16; Sir William, 15 
Pratt's Club, 94 
Primrose Club, 94 
" Prince of Orange's Head," 28 
Pringle, Sir John, 60 
Prior, Matthew, 75, 139 
Propagation of Gospel, Society for, 


Public Schools Club, 114 

Pulford, 51 

Pulteney, 87, 90 ; Sir William, 19, 

Pym, 32, 80 


QUBENSBBRRY, Duke Of, 144, 

1 80 ; Marquis of, 245 
Quitznow. 155 


Raggett, George, 130-131; Henry, 


Raikes, R., 85, 155, 178, 213, 215 

Ranelagh, Lord, 17, 267 

Ravel, 60 

Ravensworth, Lord, 204 

Rawlings' Hotel, 76 

Reading, way to, 14 

Redham's riding school, 45 

Regulus, 129 

Reynolds, Lord, 17; Sir Joshua, 
156, 160, 173,202, 236 

Rhodes' map, 51, 55 

Rich, Sir Robert, 95 

Richards, 50 

Richardson, 17 

Richmond, Duchess of, 72 ; Duke 
of, 82, 147 

Ridley, 42 

Rigby, 105 

Ripon, Lord, 62 

Road Club, 94 

Robert, 74 

Robertson, 51 

Robinson, Anastasia, 106-109; 
Mrs, 71, 109 

Robinson & Fisher, 265 

Rochester, Earl of, 67, 179 

Rochford, Lady, 203, 205 

Rocque's map, 34 

Rodney, Lord, 116, 178 

Rogers, S., 69, 88, 95, 110-113 

Roman, Peter, 27 

Romney, George, 118 

Romney, Lord, 152 

Rooke, Sir George, 73, 75 

Ros, Henry de, 245 

" Roscius, The Infant," 89 

Rouelle, 75 

Rowe, Nicholas, 139 

Rowland, 161-162 

Rowlandson, 151 

Roxburghe, Duke of, 197, 237 

Royal Academy Club, 161 ; Astro- 
nomical Society, 161 

" Royal Chair," 65 



Royal College of Physicians' Club, 


Royal Institution Club, 161 
Royal Insurance Company, 50 
Royal London Yacht Club, 161 
Royal Naval Club, 161 
Royal Societies Club, 49, 51, 121, 


Royal Yacht Squadron, 161 
Rumpelmeyer's, 41, 58 
Russell, Colonel, 69 
Russell's Court, 23, 117 
Russell, Lady Caroline, 203 
Russell, Lord William, 178 
Russell, Richard, 23 
Russell, William, 148 
Rutland, Duke of, 86-87, 129, 240, 


Ryder, Captain, 70 
Ryder, Lady Susan, 212 
Ryder Street, 20, 69-71, 81 

ST ALBANS, Duchess of, 65 ; Duke 
of, 109, 113; Earl of, 13, 27, 39, 

58, 71. ?6 

St Albans Medical Club, 161 
St Albans Street, 64, 71 
St Aldegonde, Count, 212, 214, 245 
St Bartholomew's Contemporaries, 

St George's, Hanover Square, 34, 


St Helen's, Lord, 108 

St James's bazaar, 41, 42, 48, 57, 


St James's coffee-house, 170-175 
St James's Church, 13, 76-77 
St James's Fair, 25 
St James's Fields, 14, 25 
St James's Market, 25 
St James's Palace, 13 
St James's Parish, 34 
St James's Place, 20, 94-116 
St James's Royal Hotel, 49-53 
St James's Square, 13, 14 
St James's Theatre, 59-60 
St John, Henry, 174 
Saintefoy, 76 
Salisbury, Earl of, 60 
Salisbury, Marquis of, 85 
Sams's, 42 
Sandown Park Club, 48 

Sandwich, Lord, 178 

Saville, Henry, 72 

" Savoir Vivre," 143-144 

Scares, Captain, 17 

Scharf, George, 133 

Schneider, 60 

Scott, Captain, 24 

Scott, Sir Walter, 45, 76 

Scroope, Sir Carr, 67 

Scrope, Lady, 20 

Seeker, Archbishop, 76 

Sedley, Sir Charles, 91, 179 

Sefton, Lady, 211, 229 

Sefton, Lord, 85, 136, 178 

Selwyn, Hon. George, 116, 136, 154- 

155, 178, 238 
Serre, Sieur de la, 31 
" Shades, The," 267 
Shadwell, 72 
Sharpe, John, 25 
Shee, Sir Martin, 75 
Sheffield, Lord, 183 
Shelburne, Lord, 171 
Shenstone, 74 
Shepherd, T. H., 160 
Sheridan, 136, 142, 147, 154-155, 


Sherwin, J. K., 70 
Siddons, Mrs, 71 
Skydimore, Lord, 17 
Slater, 42 

Smirke, Sydney, 162 
Smith & Co., 52 
Smith, Charlotte, 60 
Smith, Edward, 38 
Smith, Hon. John, 95 
Smith, J. T., 70-71 
Smith, Robert, no 
Smith, Sydney, 75, 112, 117 
Soames, Sir William, 72 
Sole-man, 248 

Somerset, Lady Augusta, 258 
South, Captain, 95 
South Sea Bubble, 73 
Sowton, J., 172 
Spencer, Hon. W., 66 
Spencer House, 109 
Spencer Lord, 105, 152 
Spring, Samuel, 139-140 
Stable Yard, 20, 22, 94 
Stair, Earl of, 82 
Standish, 212, 245, 249; Sir Frank, 


Stanhope, Lady Henrietta, 144 
Stanhope, Lord, 91 



Stanley, Sir W., 71 

" Star and Garter." 267 

Star Club, 161 

Statistical Club, 161 

Stavordale, Lord, 141 

Steele, Sir Richard, 63-64, 101, 133, 

158, 172, 178 
Stepney, Sir John, 114 
Stinton, W., 43 
Stock, Mrs, 114 
Stopford, Earl, 109 
Storer, 178 
Stothard, T., 111-112 
Stow, 29 
Strangford, 65 
Strathmore, Lord, 197, 237 
Strong, 52 

Stroud's Court, 23, 56 
Stuart, Hon. Keith, 116 
Stuart, James, no 
Stuart, Lady Euphemia, 103 
Stuart, Lord Dudley Coutts, 68 
Suffolk, Lady, 201 
" Sugar Loafe," 179 
Sugden, Lord, 67 
Sumner, in 
Sussex Club, 161 
Sussex, Earl of, 35 
Sutton, Manners, 192 
Swift, 61, 63-65, 70, 139, 158-160, 

170, 172, 178 

Sydney, Viscount, 120, 150 
Symons' Hotel, 49, 163 

TAGG, Madame, 19 

Talbot, Jack, 246, 253 

Talleyrand, 248 

Tallis, 41 

Tankerville, Earl of, 256; Lady, 


Tarleton, 169 
Tenison, Archbishop, 76 
Terrace, the, 23, 30 
Terrell, Sir Robert, 35 
Thackeray (Lloyd) & Co., 51 
Thackeray, W. M., 57, 186, 262-264, 

267, 275-276 
Thanet, Countess of, 116 
" Thatched House," 49, 218 
Thatched House Chambers, 158, 161 
Thatched House Club, 52, 121, 157- 


Thatched House Court, 21, 105, 115. 


Thatcher, Francis, 91 
" Thieves' Kitchen," 267 
Thomas, John, 50 
Thompson, Mrs, 243 
Thomson, J., 173 
Thurlow, 151, 159 
Thynne, 149 
Tickell, 150 
Ticknor, in, 217-220 
Townshend, 22, 74, 105, 116, 150 
Triphook, Robert, 45 
Tripp, Baron, 214, 259-260 
Tuisaye, de, 108 
" Turk's Head," 161 
Turner, J., 44 
Twemlow, 69 

" Two Blue Pyramids," 73 
Tyburn Road, 34 


UDE, 165 

Union Society of St James s, 161 
Universal Literary Cabinet, 51 
Upper St James's Park, 27 


Vanhomrigh, Mrs, 65 ; Miss E., 70 

Vardy, J., 109 

Vauxhall, 267 

Velde, Van der, 77 

Venner, Colonel, 95 

Vere, Lord, 105 

Verelst, Simon, 72 

Vernon, 178 

Vernon, Lord, 92 

Verrio, Anthony, 35 

Vevini, 71 

Villiers, Barbara, 19 

Villiers Court, 20 

Villiers, Colonel, 27 

Villiers, Lady Sarah, 232, 258 

Vivyan, Sir Richard, 29, 170 


WAKE, Archbishop, 76 
Walker, 16, 45 



Walker, John, 104 

Walker, W., 40 

Waller, Edmund, 16, 17, 19, 22, 98- 

99. 177. J 79. 184 
Walpole, C. H., 82 
Walpole, Horace, 66, 72, 82, 89, 106, 

135-136, 141, 156, 178-180, 185, 

199, 205-206, 238 
Walpole, Sir Robert, 82, 89, 116, 


Walsingham House, 89 
Walton, Izaak, 77 
Warren, Sir George, 117 
Warrender, Sir George, 245 
Warton, 174 
Warwick Street, 35 
Waterhouse, Alfred, 163 
Waterloo Hotel, 76 
Watier's, 169 
Wayne, Ralph, 26 
Webster, Sir Thomas, 128 
Webster, Sir Whistler, 127 
Weddell, Mrs, 107 
Weigall, 42 
Welch & Gwynne, 44 
Weld, Simon, 24 

Wellington, 136, 209-210, 217, 230 
Wellington Restaurant, 167 
Weltzie's, 168-169 
West, Ben, 160 
Westmorland, Earl of, 73, 224 
Weston, Edward, 91 
Wetenhall, R., 40 
Weyer, Van der, 85 
Weymouth, Lady, 84; Lord, 61, 

83. 147 

Wheelwright, 152 
Whitbread, 154 
White, Elizabeth, 123; Francis, 


White Hart Inn, 35 
White's Club, 33, 47, 121, 122-137 

Whitefoord, Caleb, 173 
Wilberforce, Bishop, 62 
Wilberforce, 145, 154, 178 
Wilbraham, Roger, 109, 154 
Wild, 78 

Williams, Gilly, 118, 136, 178, 238 
Williams, Thomas, 39 
Williamson, 51 ; Francis, 26 ; Sir 

Joseph, 73 

Willis, 218, 236 ; J. and W., 52 
Willis's Rooms, 59 
Wilmot, Sir Robert, 22 
Wilson, John, 46 
Wilson's European Emporium, 59 
Wimborne House, 86 ; Lord, 86 
Windham, SirWm., 128 
Winnock, Josiah, 56 
Wirgman, Peter, 51, 184-186 
Wolfe, General, 184 
Worcester, Lady, 212 ; Lord, 212, 

245, 249 

Wordsworth, William, 112 
Worsley, Sir Robert, 61 
Wren, Sir Christopher, 76 
Wyatt, 161, 165 
Wyatt's rebellion, 188 
Wyngaerde, 13, 14 

Yarborough, Earl of, 84 
York Chambers, 47 
York, Duke of, 87, 155 

ZETLAND, Marquis of, 85 
Zoffany, John, 78 
Zucchi, no 


DA Chancellor, Edwin Beresford 

685 Memorials of St. James's 

3U3C4 street